Sunday, July 10, 2016

Maronite Year LIX

July 10 is the Feast of the Blessed Massabki Brothers, Abdel Mooti Massabki, Francis Massabki, Raphael Massabki. They lived in Damascus during a time when tensions were very high in the Ottoman Empire. A great civil war broke out in the region of Mount Lebanon and Syria in 1860 between Maronites and their Druze governors. The fighting was fierce, and the Maronites at an inevitable disadvantage against Druze forces backed by Ottoman troops. In July 1860, the fighting came to Damascus, and the results were brutal as much of the relatively peaceful Christian population was slaughtered by Druze and Muslim paramilitary groups while the government looked the other way -- thousands of Christians died in the Damascus Massacre, perhaps as many as ten thousand, and the Christian quarter of the city was almost entirely destroyed. The massacre might well have been total had it not been for cases of Christians being saved by their Muslim neighbors, especially in poor areas around the city. Of note as well was the work of Abdelkader El Djezairi, an Algerian Sufi freedom fighter who was living in exile in Damascus at the time; having forewarning of the trouble, he and his fellow Algerians sheltered hundreds of Christians in his house and sent his sons out into danger in order to bring Christians to safety.

But there were many who had no such protection, and no recourse but to pray. The Massabki brothers, prominent Maronites in the city, were praying in a Franciscan church on July 9, 1860 and given the choice to die or convert to Islam. They were beatified in 1926 by Pius XI.

Ninth Sunday of Pentecost
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10; Luke 4:14-21

O Christ who knew no sin, but who was made sin for us,
in You we are transformed into divine holiness.
Who can praise Your mercy? We cannot count Your wonders,
which You performed on the day of Your resurrection.

With David we exclaim, 'This is the Lord's day; rejoice!'
This day has no equal; it is the crown of all feasts.
Let us welcome our Lord, who on Sunday has saved us.
O Lord, we ask that You forgive our sins and our faults.

Grant good works to us, Lord, rising like pleasing fragrance;
grant us genuine faith, an incense in Your presence;
grant us truth of witness, a temple for Your great name.
Send Your Spirit upon us in charity and hope.

Under lash, in prison, in the tumult of the mob,
in exhaustion and fast, in sleeplessness and torment,
in affliction, in need, in condemnation and fear,
grant us the patience of those who bear Your holy Cross.

Though they call us liars, may we speak Your holy truth.
Though they ignore our words, may we rest only in You.
Though they harm and slay us, may we live in Christ Jesus.
May our weapon on every side be true innocence.

Though they make us to mourn, let us in Spirit rejoice.
Though we are but beggars, may we enrich the whole world.
Though lacking legacy, may meekness inherit all.
May we be gracious with the grace that comes from Your Name.

May we be pure-minded, enlightened and forgiving;
may we rely on You -- in charity's graciousness,
in truth of the gospel, in the power of mercy --
whether we are honored or condemned, praised or betrayed.

The Feast of the Three Blessed Massabki Maronite Martyrs
Hebrews 12:1-9; Luke 12:6-10

Let us praise Christ the Martyr;
He shed His blood for our sins
and crowns those who persevere.
Behold the Massabki saints!
Their crown is of purest gold.
Holy martyrs, pray for us!

O brothers, You prayed in faith
and died in Christ, in His Church,
forgiving persecutors,
like the Lord upon His Cross.
Thus you are honored with Him!
Holy martyrs, pray for us!

Jesus said, "Follow." You did.
You heard the call of heaven
and for love of Christ endured.
Trusting in Christ's great mercy,
You won crowns of victory.
Holy martyrs, pray for us!

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