The journey towards Christian perfection is, nevertheless, highly demanding, for it is measured by the paradoxical love of the Cross: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”! When one thinks of the vortex of violence – as unceasing as it is irrational – which has struck our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq, as well as of the tension threatening in the Holy Land, in Egypt, and in other places in the Middle East, one cannot avoid the fully paradoxical nature, from a human point of view, of the Gospel’s command. It is so demanding: “If you love those who love you, what merit do you have?” I think of the understandable temptation for Christians to combat adversity with methods other than those of humble trust in Divine Providence, which, obviously, works through dialogue and every other possible initiative directed at safeguarding the right to religious liberty and safety for all, including the smallest ecclesial communities, which need to be guaranteed the right to participate fully in the civil life of their respective Countries.
With these goals in mind, we bear all such persons before the heart of God in this Holy Mass, at which we also remember the benefactors of the Eastern Churches, both living and deceased. Indeed, those many who are presently suffering are very much our benefactors also, because they face the burden of life with dignity and at great cost bring honor to the name of Christian. Nor do we wish to forget the innumerable victims and the enormous sufferings that are afflicting the motherland of Christianity. We beg the Lord, therefore, that He render Eastern Christians strong and meek, filling them with the consolation of the faith, along with all those who partake in their tragic fate. We implore that they never ever respond to hate with hate; that they never give in to blind vengeance; that they never doubt the power of God to set eventually by His grace a limit to such great evils.