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Chapter 11
Soufanieh Is for Now and the Future
HROUGHOUT THE WORLD many communities
have evolved from the Community of Soufanieh. In spite
of all the turmoil in the Middle East, God and His
Mother are speaking and acting in the Middle East, espe-
cially through Soufanieh. God wants to build His Kingdom and His
Peace in the very part of the world where He began to establish His
Kingdom on earth.
Our Lord is looking to the future. He speaks of what he will do with
and for those who cooperate. Jesus made the promise to Myrna: “My
peace in your heart will be a blessing, for you and for all those who have
cooperated with you.” For now, we are asked to pray and fast for unity.
We must please our Lord Himself. He is saying through the Holy
Virgin, “Tell everyone to pray more because they need prayer to please
the Father.”
The most important thing now is to preach Jesus Christ through our
lives. What a poor image many Christians have given of true Christianity
to the world. When many millions of Christians begin living a true
Christian life, they are preparing for the evangelization of the world.
God chose a very young woman, Myrna, only 18 at the time, to
begin in the Middle East a renewal of this long work. It would seem that
God’s intention was to use her for a long time. The messages are ongo-
ing, perhaps for decades to come. The Holy Virgin has asked that we
pray for unity and for peace. No one who truly loves can avoid praying
for unity and peace.
The first time the Holy Virgin specifically and explicitly asked for
peace was on November 26, 1989. This was after having said, “My chil-
dren, Jesus told Peter, You are the rock, and on it, I shall build my
Church. As for me, I tell you now, you are the heart in which Jesus will
build his unicity.” Then the Virgin added: “I want you to devote your
prayers to peace, from now until the commemoration of the Resur-
rection.” A short while after this request, Lebanon degenerated into a
fratricidal war among Maronites as never seen before.
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Fr. Elias Zahlaoui
speaks of the second
time that the Holy
Virgin requested prayers
for peace:
“That was in Bel-
gium, in Braaschaatt, at
the Church of the Sacred
Heart, during Myrna’s
ecstasy on August 15,
1990. The Holy Virgin
said this sole sentence:
‘My children, pray for
peace, and especially in
the East, because you are
all brothers in Christ. All
brothers in Christ.’ As if
to say to Belgians and
Westerners: ‘You are
brothers of your Arab
brothers.’ Myrna was there; she is an Arab. Nicolas was there; he is an Arab.
Fr. Boulos Fadel is an Arab; he was there. ‘You are all brothers in Christ.’
Are all men brothers in Christ? Indeed so! St. Paul said it also. Even before
our baptism, we are brothers, because we were redeemed by the Blood of
the Lord. To me, a Muslim is a brother in Christ, even though he is a
Muslim, because he is also called, in some way, to be redeemed by the
Blood of the Lord and to enter into the brotherhood that Jesus has brought
upon us.”
Fr. Elias continues: “Thus, whether I understand it or not, whether
I like it or not, the Holy Virgin tells us: ‘You are all brothers in Christ.’
Therefore, stop killing each other. Stop fighting each other. Stop com-
mitting injustices. How can peace be accomplished if I pray but then
act contrary to peace? Consequently, along with prayer, I must act such
that peace be established. If I am in conflict with somebody and I pray
for peace, I must start by reconciling with this person. And if I have
committed an injustice against someone, I must correct this injustice,
to be in peace with this person, and then with myself, and therefore
with the Lord.
“For if the Holy Virgin is inviting the whole world to pray for peace,
and especially in the East, it is because there is something wrong. And
we know that something is wrong. We know that the world is unfair. We
know that the logic of the power in the world is a logic of violence, and
not a logic of love. The logic of violence is not a logic of God. But what
comes first nowadays is the logic of violence, of power. The strongest has
consumed the weakest.
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Fr. Elias Zahlaoui
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“And the worst thing is that this is done in the name of the law,
which is supposed to regulate the relationships between men, in order to
have relationships of equality, justice and love. The worst thing is that
now, the great powerful countries brandish international law, and in the
name of the international authorities who are supposed to protect the
weakest people, they brandish international law to crush the poor peo-
ple. Why? In the name of what? And who will tell these people and
these powerful countries to stop acting against God? If the Church is
incapable of doing that, who is going to say it?
“It is sad that the Western world, which advocates so much violence,
and which also advocates injustice in the name of the law, is considered,
in the eyes of our Muslim brothers, to be a Christian world. There are
so many things to review. I understand why Jesus or the Holy Virgin says
to Myrna: ‘Tell everyone to pray more because they need prayer to please
the Father.’ If we do not pray, how shall we change?
“And if we pray and mold a god to our own image, which will have
nothing to do with Jesus, then we allow ourselves all eccentricities and
injustices in the name of justice. Whether we like it or not, the Holy
Virgin reminds us: ‘My children, you are all brothers in Christ!’” [Above
quotations are from Remember God by Fr. Elias Zahlaoui, 1991.]
God always knows what is best for His people and to accomplish
the ends for His glory and the salvation of mankind. We have seen in
this book that from 1990, both Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mother had
a ten-year period in giving messages through Myrna.
It was on Holy Saturday, 1990, that Jesus spoke to Myrna two sen-
tences: “My children, you will teach the generations the WORD of
unity, love and faith. I am with you. But you, my daughter, will not hear
my voice until the Feast has been unified.” Myrna would not see Jesus in
an ecstasy. The first reaction for the Soufanieh people was to think that
if Jesus disappeared, yet the Virgin would continue to appear.
But the Holy Virgin gave a different message to Myrna on two
occasions in 1990. On August 15, 1990, Myrna was in Belgium from
August 9 to September 2. On the evening of August 15, after the divine
liturgy, Myrna was praying with Fr. Van der Voort near the altar when
she had an ecstasy. She saw Jesus, but Jesus did not say anything, yet
Jesus blessed the crowd. Then Myrna saw Mary who said: “My children,
pray for peace, and especially in the East, because you are all brothers in
Christ.” On November 26, 1990, the eighth anniversary of Soufanieh,
the Virgin informed Myrna that she too would not appear until the
Feast of Easter was unified.
Heaven kept its word. From that date until Holy Week 2001 there
were no stigmata, no ecstasies, no exuding of oil from the original mirac-
ulous Icon of Soufanieh. The oozing of oil from Myrna’s hands, howev-
er, occurred many, many times during the 11 years and throughout the
world. The fact that this happened in many countries indicates Soufanieh
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is for the world. During these 11 years, the Lord continued to give the
sign of His presence among the people by oil exuding from Myrna.
During these years oil flowed from some images as well, but not the orig-
inal one at Soufanieh.
The phenomenon of Soufanieh is a call to prayer. As Fr. Elias
Zahlaoui points out: “In Arabic, the word ‘prayer’ comes from a root
meaning ‘to link’ or ‘to bond.’ ‘Assilat,’ relating, ‘assalat,’ prayer. ‘Assalat,’
in Arabic, is prayer, which is ‘relating to God.’ It is the relationship
between man and God. And if this relationship does not exist, every-
thing crumbles and nothing holds. God is on one side, and man is on
the other. Therefore, if the Lord enjoys giving us so many signs, this is
really to help us re-create this link of prayer which was, or may be, grad-
ually loosening. God desires to re-create this link of prayer, to take us
back gently to himself.
“Therefore, the essence of Soufanieh has always been prayer. People
responded with a spontaneous and massive outpouring of prayer, since
the first minute, and right until now.”
Fr. Zahlaoui points out that during the periods when nothing was
happening, like between November 1985 and November 1986, yet, one
thing continued and that was prayer.
Especially in Aleppo, Syria, since January 24, 1988, there have been
manifestations of the Soufanieh phenomenon. An image of Our Lady
of Soufanieh has exuded oil in the house of an Armenian family where
the husband is Orthodox and the wife is Catholic. Her name is also
Mary. In other homes of Aleppo the same has happened.
Fr. Zahlaoui says there is a wave of spiritual renewal which is diffi-
cult to talk about or understand if one has not experienced it. There has
been a real increase in prayer in Aleppo. Churches have had to open for
some hours of worship every day. Many families are living a great spiri-
tual renewal. This is true especially about Syria, but the priest has wit-
nessed similar results in France.
Prayer is the most important phenomenon of what is coming out of
Soufanieh. While the present papal nuncio is most cautious, it was en-
couraging to hear him say that he understands it is drawing people to
prayer and that is good. The return of man to God, through prayer, in
thanksgiving, reparation, love, while awaiting to meet the Lord in eter-
nity, is always precious and praiseworthy. There have been occasions
when, after the oil had exuded from the Icon, people prayed and sang
spiritual songs for hours without realizing the time.
Fr. Adel Khoury, a Lebanese priest, dean of the faculty of theology
of Münster in Germany, has put it this way: “At Soufanieh, we feel as if
we are with God. The Holy Virgin is there. And when I hear people
praying, I can feel that these people are talking to the Holy Virgin who
is with them. They are not talking to someone who is far from them. She
is there, it’s as simple at that.”
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Fr. Elias adds: “At Soufanieh, the Holy Virgin gave us an extraordi-
nary lesson of service. She is all beauty. She is the Queen of the Heavens
and the world. And in spite of that, she knows that she is the servant of
the Lord. She came to Soufanieh to prepare the way for the Lord, some-
what as she prepared it in Palestine. And when the Lord arrived, she dis-
appeared. And that is how it happened at Soufanieh. We realized that
only a few years later.”
As the author of this book, and director of the Fatima Family
Apostolate, I have often said that from the beginning of my annual pil-
grimages to Fatima in 1974 I experienced the presence of Mary, the
Mother of God, in the Cova da Iria. After a week at Soufanieh I said,
“At Soufanieh I experienced the presence of both Mary and Jesus.” Of
course, at Fatima, I knew in faith the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy
Eucharist, at Mass, etc. But Soufanieh was like experiencing a presence
of Jesus and Mary together at the same time.
While I was doing research for this book, I was frustrated with the
message given by the Virgin, during the second ecstasy (Friday, Novem-
ber 4, 1983; see p. 214). Mary had spoken in Arabic dialect, a strong mes-
sage full of both power and tenderness. On that day, after Mary had said
to Myrna: “Go down and tell them that you are my daughter before being
theirs.” . . . The Virgin added immediately: “My heart has been consumed
over my only Son. It will not be consumed over all my children.”
As already indicated in this book, I sought help from the people at
Soufanieh in understanding this message. Then I learned from the writ-
ings of Fr. Elias Zahlaoui the following:
“As such, the translation in its literal sense is not what is meant. It
gives the impression that in this sentence, the Holy Virgin is saying: ‘I
wash my hands of my children.’ But, in Arabic dialect used by Mary
here, this means clearly, ‘If I was unable to save my Son from death [on
the Cross] and my heart has been consumed over his sufferings, now, I
am going to do my utmost to save you.’ It is exactly the contrary of what
a literal translation can mean. “My heart has been consumed over my
only Son.” The poor Virgin was at the foot of the cross, absolutely inca-
pable of doing anything [to prevent Jesus’ sufferings and death]. But
once crowned Queen of the Heavens and the Earth, and once in Heaven
after her Assumption, she became the all-powerful. Isn’t she the ‘All
powerful supplicant,’ as referred to by one of the saints? And she wants
to do her utmost to save her children. Therefore, she is not going to let
her children get lost by their own fault or because of others. She is going
to do her utmost. This is where we truly touch the divine motherhood.
And the motherhood of Mary towards all her children.
“Thereafter, on August 14, 1987, Jesus gave us a message that con-
firms this full power of Mary over the heart of God. This sentence says
a lot about the place of the Holy Virgin in the heart of the Trinity: ‘My
daughter, She is my Mother from whom I was born. He who honors her
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honors me. He who denies her denies me. And he who asks something
from her obtains because she is my Mother. . . .’”
Muslims do recognize Mary as very great and special. The hearts of
both Muslims and Christians in the East are open to the Holy Virgin.
They don’t say “Virgin Mary” but simply “Virgin.” For most people it is
the Holy Virgin who is at Soufanieh so they could accept this. When
Jesus appeared afterward, after the Holy Virgin, and gave special mes-
sages through Myrna, the way was prepared for Jesus and the people
accepted him. Tens of thousands of copies of booklets on the messages
were distributed to people and were gladly accepted.
Pope John Paul II during his long reign as pope repeatedly spoke
against the consumerist mentality. It has affected not only the West but the
East as well. In the East too science has been held in such high esteem as
if it held the answers to all man’s future. Youth in the East have been deeply
affected also by Western philosophy and atheism and science.
It would be so easy for youth of both the East and the West to think
that religions have been the cause of divisions, even wars. There is the
temptation to exclude God and accept only the human values as known
through science and philosophy. Power and money become the great
temptation, the “god’ of the modern man.
Fr. Zahlaoui offers accounts of conversions through Soufanieh. He
even tells about Fr. Boulos Fadel, who is now one of Myrna’s spiritual
directors. He tells how, as a young priest from Damascus, he would come
to pray at Soufanieh, even though there were priests who were hostile
and stubborn and closed to Soufanieh, even in Damascus. Father saw
one young priest (Fr. Fadel) come regularly to pray at Soufanieh. That
was three-and-a-half years after Soufanieh began.
One day Fr. Elias asked Fr. Boulos, “What brought you to
Soufanieh?” He answered, “Father, I simply thought about the fact that
people have been praying here for three-and-a-half years, so I told
myself that these people are surely not stupid. They must have seen a
sign. So I wanted to pray with them.” Fr. Elias encouraged him to con-
tinue coming.
Today, as already described in this book, Fr. Fadel, who has by now
witnessed a lot of things, is most active with Soufanieh. He even travels
with Myrna. Fr. Elias knew at the time that Fr. Malouli was getting very
old and he himself was weakening with age too. So Fr. Elias finally said
to him: “Prepare yourself, Boulos, to take over from us. You will certain-
ly have a great mission at Soufanieh.”
When the summer of 1990 came and Fr. Franz Van der Voort had
asked Myrna and Nicolas to come to Belgium, Fr. Malouli wanted to
stay in Damascus. He was already scheduled with other work. Fr. Boulos
was the only priest available and so he traveled with Myrna and Nicolas.
That is how he started leaving Damascus to assist Myrna and the mis-
sion of Soufanieh.
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There are some priests in Damascus too who refuse to listen to any-
thing in favor of Soufanieh. Fr. Elias tells about three different priests,
two are Greek Catholic and one is a Jesuit. He challenged them: “At
least come and see! See what is going on. You do not have the right to
refuse a priori. Then you will be able to tell people whether this is all an
act, or trickery. You don’t have the right. One day, the Lord will ask you
for an explanation. What will you answer him when you will be facing
him and he says (these are the words I used): ‘I knocked on the doors of
Damascus and you had the mission of spreading the Good News. What
did you do?’ Are you going to answer him, ‘My superiors were barricad-
ed in their ivory towers? I waited for them to tell me what I had to do.
But if our superiors continue to barricade themselves in their ivory tow-
ers, who will bring them the right information to help them understand
what is going on, who, if not you? If not me?’ Unfortunately, until now,
some clergymen still stubbornly refuse the phenomenon.”
Such is how Fr. Elias Zahlaoui sees the situation, he who at the very
first had to be convinced himself. But he soon went. He saw. And since
that he has given testimony. Fr. Zahlaoui has had a very great influence
on the author of this volume who also went and saw for himself.
One can hardly imagine any new excuses for people not accepting
Soufanieh. It reminds one of the Gospel accounts of the scribes and
pharisees who did not want to believe in Jesus Christ. They sought nat-
ural reasons, or even diabolic reasons, even after Jesus performed mira-
cles like giving sight to the man born blind, and raising Lazarus from
the dead.
There have been those who have attributed the phenomenon of
Soufanieh to the devil. How can that be when the many years of oil, stig-
mata, etc., have brought widespread prayer from thousands. Is the devil
drawing people to prayer? To Jesus and his Mother? And the great devo-
tion one sees at Soufanieh and in its extension throughout the world?
Some speak of a physiological or psychological, or physical expla-
nation to all this phenomena. But they offer no proof to that, just excus-
es. Some have even said that Myrna must take some special pills to
make her body exude olive oil. Well, would the images take pills for that
purpose too? And this not only in Syria, but in Lebanon, in France, in
America, Canada, etc.
The general reaction of people has been to respond in prayer. That
is what is great. Fr. Malouli used to say that among the people there has
been sort of an evangelical experience. At first they are shocked when
they witness the oil. Then there is a reaction of prayer in humility. Slowly
the phenomenon enters the heart. Union with God in prayer. That is the
purpose. And such an accomplishment among more and more will lead
to holy family life and Christian unity.
Each evening I was in Soufanieh I saw the people come for deep
prayer, including the Rosary and the prayers of Soufanieh. They
Chapter 11. Soufanieh Is for Now and the Future 234
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participated very devotedly in the Sacrifice of the Mass which I offered
each day before the original Icon of Soufanieh. They were very devout in
receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ. “The finger of God is here.”
Christians do not have the right to remain divided. They have the
obligation to pray and work for unity. In the East they see that the unifi-
cation of Easter will contribute much toward the unification of Orthodox
and Catholics. From the unity of the Feast the rest will follow.
For Good Friday, March 29, 2002, youth in Damascus visited all the
bishops of all the rites to inform them about the brochure calling for
unity of the Feast of Easter. They asked for the bishops’ blessing in their
intention to distribute the brochures. Patriarch Laham of the Melkite
Catholics was very kind and encouraged the youth. He promised that in
the year 2003 Easter for his people would be celebrated at the same time
as the Orthodox. The youth went to various cities and villages with the
same request, sometimes getting enthusiastic receptions, other times
mixed reactions.
A divided Church cannot testify effectively to the world. At Sou-
fanieh the Lord has promised to rebuild the Church himself. For this the
Lord wants us to pray and serve with humility. Through us united in
prayer and love Jesus Christ will rebuild His One Church. The Church
is the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and it will be His Kingdom and His
peace. Jesus will realize his unicity. Man on his own power and initiative
cannot do it. It will come from Jesus Christ and the intercession of the
Holy Virgin and our opening our hearts to prayer and love of God and
one another.
God has not forgotten that Christianity remained the religion of
the majority in Syria until the 14th or 15th century. Under the pres-
sure of the Turkish regime, a large number of Christian Syrians grad-
ually drifted into Islam. By 1990, Syrian Christians represented about
12-15 percent of the population of 13 million. These Christians were
divided into Catholic and Orthodox with a majority being Orthodox,
plus some Protestant communities, even many sects, including Jehovah
Witnesses.
God has not forgotten that Syria is one of the cradles of Chris-
tianity. Antioch was once one of the most flourishing cities of apostolic
Christianity. God is speaking today through Soufanieh. It is not only for
Christians of Syria to listen, but for all of us to listen and to respond.
From the end of the third century, Christians from the East and the
West have had a power-to-power relationship. There were two poles
competing with each other, Rome and Constantinople. Constantinople
in the East tried to take full control of the Eastern empire. It placed
unbearable taxes and ecclesiastical domination on large populations, who
to reject its yoke, created separate Churches and gave the guise of theo-
logical differences for the excuse. It has taken centuries to discover that
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the theological conflicts were really political and ethnic conflicts.
The difficult relationships between the Christians of the East and
those of the West were already difficult long before the arrival of Islam.
It was their lack of unity that aided the rise of Islam. Mohammed died in
632. By 636 Muslim armies were in Syria and throughout the Middle
East. The dissensions between the Christians aided the spread of Islam
rapidly throughout the Middle East and it even spread to the Western
countries.
The development of the Turkish empire, headquartered in Constan-
tinople in 1453, was a long time threat to the West, and it confirmed the
separation of the Eastern and Western Churches. That separation accel-
erated with the centuries. Eastern Christians, totally separated from the
Western Christians, turned in on themselves. With their past history,
deeply influenced by suspicion and hostilities, they have not been pre-
pared to unite together. Each Church community tries to preserve itself
to survive rather then seeing all Christians as one family of God in
Christ, brothers and sisters all.
The history and division among Christians in the East is not under-
stood by the average Catholic in the United States, or the West, for that
matter. When Latin missionaries arrived in Syria, Lebanon and the
entire Middle East, they created a Christian circle that appeared to con-
stitute a core of unity with Rome, a bridge between Rome and Eastern
Orthodoxy. This finally led to the creation of different Eastern Churches
related to Rome, which achieved the full division of the Eastern
Orthodox Church already divided within itself.
The divisions within each of the Greek, Syrian and Armenian Orth-
odox communities led to the creation of Greek, Syrian and Armenian
Catholic communities. Most of the Orthodox of the Middle East hide a
fear of everything Catholic. Suspicions underlie relationships.
Relationships between the East and the West have been dominated
by a dialectic of force, power, all of which has had nothing to do with
Christianity. Countries considering themselves in terms of power re-
move themselves from the consciousness of the only real power which is
God. Consider then what image Christians of the West convey to the
East which has a Muslim majority.
The phenomenon of Soufanieh is happening in the midst of the Arab
world surrounded by an environment of a Muslim majority. The powerful
countries of the West often look with disdain upon the Arab world.
Soufanieh is saying to Christian minorities in the East, do not leave. The
Lord is giving you a sign. “Stay to bring the full Gospel, to bring the full-
ness of faith—who is Jesus Christ—to the East, to Muslims, to all peo-
ples. Bring this truth of Jesus who is the Truth, by your lives.”
Fr. Elias Zahlaoui tells the story of a man who was tempted to leave
Syria for the United States where most of his family was already. Then
he learned of Soufanieh. He thought and prayed and concluded: “I have
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no right to leave Damascus at a time when the Lord came to stay here
for good.” That man, said Fr. Zahlaoui, really understood the events of
Soufanieh, that the Lord is telling us: “My children, I am here. Stay with
me. I am with you. It is not a time to leave. Two thousand years ago, I
told my children: ‘Go and preach,’ now, to you also, I say ‘Preach!’ And
if, as far as we can judge, the Lord has maintained the presence of a
Christian minority in the Arab world against all odds, this is certainly
for a mission. He entrusted us with this mission two thousand years ago.
Unfortunately, we have let him down. Now, I am sure that the Lord is
saying to us: ‘My children, begin your mission.’”
The struggle in the East is dealing also with the invasion of social,
intellectual, political and scientific conditions and ideas and ways based
on Western life. This means the young people, who are the future of the
Church, under this influence, could find themselves completely out of
touch with the Christian religion.
The West, by and large, does not realize sufficiently what we have
tried to describe here; or it just ignores it. People do not bother to meas-
ure the extent of the exodus of the Christians, especially from Palestine
under the Israeli oppression. Palestinians emigrate, Christians even
more than the Muslims. Christians have unfortunately counted too
much on human elements than on the Lord. They love their country but
they leave. Their endurance and patience seemingly is broken.
With this all too brief summary, readers hopefully will understand
why through Soufanieh, the Lord is saying: “My children, I am here.
Stay with me.”
Hopefully, in this final chapter then, we can come to appreciate that
the phenomenon of Soufanieh is not to entertain. The Lord is address-
ing especially the Church of the Middle East, through the Church of
Damascus. The Lord wants Christians to look to the future. Jesus’ mes-
sages speak about the future.
The verbs that Jesus uses are in the future tense. The Churches of
the Middle East, unfortunately, are stuck in their past. They seem to fear
that to drop the past means to lose the present and the future. But the
Lord is in this and they must put their trust in him. God is not bound
down by time. All is present to God. In eternity only now is the reality.
Still God works with man in man’s time upon earth. We must put on, as
St. Paul said, “the mind of Jesus Christ.” St. Paul said, “Let this mind be
in you which is also in Jesus Christ.” And St. Paul went forth to evan-
gelize the nations. As the Lord called St. Paul for this in the area of
Damascus, he is calling again today.
The Church while being from the past is not presently for the past.
Jesus has not remained in the past. Jesus is God-Man come for all gen-
erations. The death of Jesus on the Cross was followed by the Resur-
rection and Pentecost. Soufanieh is asking Christians to look to the
future Resurrection and the action of the Holy Spirit NOW. The Holy
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Spirit is the Soul of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Openness to the
Spirit leads to unity.
The Church, both of the East and the West, must not turn in on
itself. We have seen the Western Church, after the Second Vatican
Council, do so, but not because of the Council. The Council which
introduced authentic renewal became the occasion for some to work for
non-authentic “renewal” which only divided.
We have seen clergy and others of the West get caught up in all
kinds of useless and distracting debates: Should priests be celibate?
Should ordination of women be permitted by the Church? We’ve seen
many people dissent from the teachings of the Church on artificial birth
control which the Church has always condemned and which Muslims
by and large don’t practice as they believe in having children. We’ve seen
the crisis of faith affecting family life, and the sacredness of indissoluble
marriage.
Clergy who permitted themselves to become caught up in such
thinking as the dissenters promote have too often lacked spiritual lives.
As this book goes to print, in the United States, a relatively small per-
centage of priests, perhaps three or four percent, yet a very significant
number have caused grave scandal to the Church which has also had
to deal with civil law actions. If all the clergy and the faithful by and
large were truly living a Christ-like life, which the Second Vatican
Council called for, a great Catholic moment could have been realized
to bring many more Christians into one family, one Church of Jesus
Christ.
C
God can do great and marvelous things, even things affecting the
universal Church with a small beginning, and with little things. Jesus
lived physically in the Middle East and he started in a small way. Those
who study and pray with Soufanieh in mind discover that the Divine
Will is expressing Itself there to build something strong and lasting. The
Lord is concerned about His Kingdom and His Peace. The Lord came
to the world in the Incarnation, “the Word was made flesh” and the
Word is still flesh in us as He is glorified in the flesh in heaven. The
Lord counts on human beings, one with Jesus in his Incarnation. God
has started to rebuild his one Church again through Soufanieh, not that
the Church in essence was ever destroyed, but many of its members
became and are divided. God counts on the community of Soufanieh
and the many Soufanieh communities evolving throughout the world.
Fr. Zahlaoui says: “Indeed, I have to keep what the Lord has given
me through history. I have to respect Tradition. But to do what the Jews
did with the Law and the Sabbath, to make them equal to God, and to
go even beyond that, by saying, as some Pharisees, that God teaches the
Law, is to put God under the Law. And this is absolutely a disastrous
inconsistency for the Church. Nobody does it consciously. But we live
Chapter 11. Soufanieh Is for Now and the Future 238
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this in a personal or collective state of unawareness. And that will turn
against the Church and against the people in the midst of which the
Lord has placed us. The Church cannot remain turned in on itself or
closed off from others. It must open. It must open at all costs; otherwise
it will die.”
Remember the words of Jesus to Myrna: “My peace in your heart
will be a blessing for you and for all those who have cooperated with
you.” That is a promise for the future. Now we are to pray and love one
another from the heart. “My peace in your heart will be a blessing for
you and for all those who have cooperated with you.” This should serve
as a light to face all difficulties. Through the Virgin Jesus is saying: “Tell
everyone to pray more because they need prayer to please the Father.”
After having said to Myrna on November 26, 1987: “Go and preach
to the whole world and tell them without fear to work for unity,” Jesus
also said: “Man is not condemned for the fruit of his hands, but for the
fruit of his heart.” This is to guide us against judging others by material
or worldly standards. What we are is what matters, not what we have.
With difficulty will a rich man enter heaven.
There has been an atmosphere of peace, joy, and prayer at Soufanieh
since November 27, 1982. People who have come to Soufanieh from
around the world have been touched by the fervor and prayers of the
believers there. There have been many spiritual conversions which are
more important than the physical cures that sometimes take place.
It is indeed edifying that our Lord Jesus Christ and His all power-
ful and holy Mother, who are calling for love and unity, frequently have
people whether Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, etc., praying at Soufanieh.
What is asked of all of us now, whether of the East or West, is
PRAYER, PRAYER, PRAYER from sincere and humble hearts. Fast
and prayer. Do penance for Christian unity. This includes charity toward
those around us, those who offend us. If the study of Soufanieh does not
lead us to prayer, love and unity, beginning within our own families, and
with those around us, then we have read of Soufanieh only for enter-
tainment. Then the message of Soufanieh has not been permitted to
touch and move our hearts.
The greatest miracle of all, we yet await, is the reunion of Christians.
O Lady of Soufanieh, pray for us to have hearts of love for one
another that we may worship God and offer Our Father the Eucharistic
Sacrifice as one family.
May the example of our lives reflect the love of God and for one
another as daily we pray for unity. Amen.
C
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Fox. Light from the East—Miracles of Our Lady of Soufanieh