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April 30, 2001

(Acts 9:22-25)  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

POPE TO RETREAD ROAD TO DAMASCUS

Pope John Paul will retread the steps of St. Paul on the road to Damascus next week when he goes to Syria, a country that has produced six popes over the centuries but has never been visited by one. A personal highlight for the Pope will be retracing the steps of St. Paul who, according to Biblical scripture, miraculously converted to Christianity while traveling to Damascus.  In the Old City he will visit St. Paul's chapel which is said to mark the spot where Paul -- until then a persecutor of Christians -- was smuggled out in a basket to avoid capture by Jews angry at his conversion.

Another high point will be a visit to the magnificent Umayyad mosque where he will meet Muslim clerics for a rare encounter with the Islamic world.  The mosque sums up much of the complexity and continuity of Syrian history. It was built on a temple which was converted to a Christian church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist after the adoption of Christianity as the imperial religion.  For the first 70 years after the seizure of Damascus by the Arabs in 639, the Church of St. John the Baptist remained the main Christian place of worship. For a time, Christians shared the extensive compound with Muslim worshippers whose prayers were oriented toward the south wall facing the holy city of Mecca.

Tradition has it that the head of Saint John the Baptist, said to have been beheaded on Herod's instructions at the request of Salome, lies under one of the pillars in the prayer halls of the mosque.

RELATED HEADLINES

Pope's Syria visit evokes memories of old conflicts
Pope's trip in footsteps of St. Paul stirs controversy

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

87 (cont.). We who have experienced both kinds of receding should approach God in each case in the appropriate way. In the first case we should offer Him thanks as we plead in our own defence, understanding that He is disciplining our unruly character by concealing His presence, so as to teach us, like a good father, the difference between virtue and vice. In the second case, we should offer Him ceaseless confession of our sins and incessant tears, and practise a greater seclusion from the world, so that by adding to our labours we may eventually induce Him to reveal His presence in our hearts as before. Yet we must realize that when there is a direct struggle between Satan and the soul- and I am speaking here of the struggle that takes place when God recedes in order to educate us- then grace conceals itself a little, as I have said, but nevertheless supports the soul in a hidden way, so that in the eyes of its enemies the victory appears to be due to the soul alone.

April 28, 2001

POPE SAYS ETHICS NEEDED TO REIN IN GLOBALIZATION

Pope John Paul called on Friday for an ethnical standard to safeguard the diversity of cultures from the homogenizing effects of globalization. "Globalization must not be a new version of colonialism," the Pope told the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, adding that as the business and trade world shrinks, different lifestyles and cultures had to be protected.

Calling ethics "a safeguard of all that is human," the Pope insisted that globalization was not, in itself, either good or bad but rather would be what man made of it. "The search (for an ethical code) is indispensable if globalization is not to be just another name for the absolute relativization of values and homogenization of lifestyles and cultures," said the Pope, who turns 81 next month.

The Pope recognized the sweeping power of globalization and the fact it had left some people helpless in its wake. "Many people, especially the disadvantaged, experience this (globalization) as something that has been forced upon them rather than a process in which they can actively participate. "The Church will continue to work ... to ensure the winner in this process will be humanity as a whole, not just a wealthy elite that controls science, technology, communication and the planet's resources to the detriment of the vast majority of its people," he added. The Pope said ethics came from within man and should develop independently of the world's social and economic superpowers.

He also warned that some values propounded in the halls of philosophy were themselves the product of globalization, driven by technological advances and the drive for efficiency. "Not all forms of ethics are worthy of the name. We are seeing the emergence of patterns of ethical thinking which are by-products of globalization itself and which bear the stamp of utilitarianism." Real ethics would emphasize the value of each individual human which "must be an end and not a means," he said.

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA Jim McCrea Re: Yesterday's Trib Times report:

Islam is a colossal heresy which has been going for almost 1400 years (It explicitly denies the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ). It seems like an intractable problem to destroy it. Yet we must have faith that the Blessed Virgin is the destroyer of all heresies and that no obstacle can stand in the way of the omnipotence of Christ. Seemingly impossible situations persist because we have a lack of faith that God can solve them. God has the will to solve them and the power to do so. Faith is the golden key to God taking action. With this Faith, God can overcome any problem in the world (i.e. abortion, the idea of contraception as a universal right, , the acceptance of fornication as an acceptable practice, a mainstream media which s the truth etc.) With this Faith, the whole world can be brought into the One, True, Holy, Roman Catholic Church as God wills. Lately, I have been inspired to pray for the conversion of Islam (as impossible as this might seem to many, but with God all things are possible). It was enlightening to read, in that letter, how God is working in a subtle and almost imperceptible way, in Islamic strongholds in the Middle East, tilling the ground for their eventual conversion.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

87. When God recedes in order to educate us, this brings great sadness, humility and even some measure of despair to the soul. The purpose of this is to humble the soul's tendency to vanity and self-glory, for the heart at once is filled with fear of God, tears of thankfulness, and great longing for the beauty of silence. But the receding due to God's complete withdrawl fills the soul with despair, unbelief, anger and pride.

April 27, 2001

(Mark 16:15-16)  Jesus appeared to the Eleven and told them: "Go into the world and proclaim the good news to all creation. The man who believes in it and accepts baptism will be saved; the man who refuses to believe in it will be condemned.

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Alan A Trombetta:

The writers are personal friends and long time missionaries to Tashkent, Uzbekistan and were sent to the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan in hopes of seeing a breakthrough over the area via worship. There could hardly be a more lost, desperate and forgotten group of people than Afghan refugees fleeing the notorious Taliban. Please, read this letter and PROMISE to PRAY for all those involved.

Alan Trombetta

Dear Friends,

Our time in Pakistan was quite an eye opener for Sue and I. If Uzbekistan and the other former Soviet republics are the soft under-belly of Islam then Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are the firm backbone. Sue spent the week dressed in a "shalwar-kamiz" (long dress and pants) along with a "chaddar" (extra large head scarf that covers all the upper body except the face). Even with that Sue's blonde bangs brought plenty of stares. Peshawar is 70% Afghan and their dress standard is even more conservative than the Pakistanis. We saw many women clad in "bhurkas", a head to toe garment with only a 3' x 4' mesh for the eyes to look through.

Our first day in Peshawar we were able to visit an Afghan refugee camp about an hour from the city. Our host works with a Christian organization that has built one thousand homes and 6 bakeries in the camp. The camp which was originally built for 1000 families is now bulging with over 11,000 families, about 60,000 people. The only thing between the refugees and starvation is the modest aid of the UN, the Pakistan government and several NGOs. Although hopes of a prosperous future seem bleak, at least this camp was supplied with clean water and the basics of flour and oil for bread. Pakistan is now home to around 1,200,000 Afghan refugees. The most recent, fleeing from drought and starvation, live in unofficial camps with almost no aid. The Pakistan government, weary from years of assistance, hopes these newer refugees will turn back to Afghanistan and is discouraging others from offering aid.

As we visited one of the bakeries I asked a young man that spoke some English if there were any Uzbeks in the camp. He said "Yes, there are 500 families." then he added "I am Uzbek". When I spoke to him in Uzbek he immediately broke into tears and walked away to compose himself. He told me that his home in northern Afghanistan had been hit by a Taliban rocket, killing two of his brothers. The Taliban ordered his entire village to leave (500+ families) and then burned down their homes. The whole village fled together through the mountains and into Pakistan. Our host told me that most refugees are robbed at the border by the Pakistan authorities and lose any valuables they might have had. Uzbeks are a large part of the population of northern Afghanistan. This area withstood Taliban incursion for a long time under the leadership of General Dostum, a Soviet trained Uzbek military leader, who could not conceive of living in a place without and dancing. The General has recently returned from exile to the small 10% of Afghanistan that remains free from Taliban rule. My new Uzbek friend expressed hope that this could mean a chance to repossess their homes and dignity.

We were able to meet with the team moving to northern Afghanistan just before their departure. There are three single guys, a married couple and two toddlers. They all share a conviction that worship and intercession are to be a big part of their service. With two wild and woolly YWAMers and three Southern Baptists their ideas of what that looks like and how it works could be quite different. They had never yet had a real break-through while worshiping together but God met with us in a gracious way. In an atmosphere like Pakistan, having a breakthrough time of worship can be a challenge for the wildest and woolliest. This gave a good model for us of doing spiritual warfare and aggressive faith in accessing the manifest (felt) presence of God. Everyone was able to receive things from the Lord personally and strategically during intercession.

During this trip Sue and I were able to get a bigger picture of Central Asia and the peoples here. We went hoping that God would show us more clearly what we are to do as we return to the US. One thing that is clear is that this part of the world is deeply planted in our hearts. There are things about the nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran that are very key to reaching the entire Islamic world. In August 1999, at our YWAM Central Asia conference in Istanbul, Loren Cunningham prophesied (something he doesn't do often or lightly) and spoke of a river of God flowing from the republics of Central Asia down into the Southern nations and all the way over to the Middle East. In line with that word we have been so blessed to see many indigenous reproducing churches planted in the Muslim former Soviet republics in the years since independence. Many local believers in Uzbekistan have already heard God's call for them to go to Afghanistan.

One brother told us that God had been putting Afghanistan on the hearts of Iranian believers. He spoke of three Iranian pastors that had been recently martyred. All of them had been seeking to begin ministering to Afghans. There is much more significance to this mountainous bloodstained land than we can even begin to comprehend. God sees something extremely precious in this land, trophies that will shine like the sun. A rose emerging from hard parched ground and girthed by sharp thorns, but with a beauty and fragrance unmatched by any cultivated blossom.

As we consider the future the thing that stands out to me the most is the feeling that we are not leaving something but carrying something. The flame doesn't seem to be flickering out but it seems God is stirring and blowing on the coals. We want to continue to advocate for this part of the world and perhaps prepare to come back at the time that God would allow.

In His Service, Ed and Sue

RELATED: SUDAN- Praying Christians flogged and imprisoned

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

86 (cont.) The second kind of receding is when God withdraws altogether from the soul that does not want Him; and this indeed delivers the soul captive to the demons. We, however, are not children from whom God has withdrawn- heaven forbid! We believe ourselves to be true 's grace, which nurses us by briefly concealing its presence and then revealing itself once more, so that through its goodness we may grow to our full stature.

April 26, 2001

(Ezek 36:24-28)  "'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

ANXIETY, ANGER AND ANGST: AN UNHAPPY ISRAEL TURNS 53

Israel is marking 53 years since its founding, but the mood is decidedly less than festive. Just a year ago, peace and prosperity seemed finally within grasp. The army was pulling out of Lebanon, ending an unpopular and bloody 18-year occupation. Prime Minister Ehud Barak was pushing for a final peace deal with the Palestinians. And each day, it seemed, a new Internet millionaire was born.

But those cheery days are gone. Israelis and Palestinians are locked in battle now a cruel and frustrating conflict that Israelis didn't expect, can't quite explain, and don't know how to end.

Independence Day celebrations, which begin Wednesday night and run through Thursday night, were proceeding amid tight security at shopping centers, movie theaters and other gathering spots, but many said they would avoid the traditional outdoor fireworks and parties for fear of suicide bombings.

In the usually festive Independence Day supplements, commentators jostled to do justice to the angst.

"To a great extent ... this is the most difficult and evil time in our history," opined Ron Meiberg in the Maariv daily. "Our 53rd Independence Day is one of the saddest, most pointless, and hard."

RELATED HEADLINES

Happy Independence Day anyway
From sorrow to joy
Muslims Urged To Unite Vs. Israel

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

86. The Lord himself declares that Satan fell from heaven like lightning (cf. Luke 10:18); this was to prevent him, in his hideousness, from looking on the dwelling-places of the holy angels. But if he may not share the company of the righteous servants of God, how then can he dwell in the intellect of man together with God Himself? It will be said that this is possible because God recedes a little and makes room for him. But this explanation is inadequate. For there are two different ways in which God recedes. First He recedes in order to educate us. But this receding does not by any means deprive the soul of divine light. As I have said, all that happens is that grace often hides its presence from the intellect, so that the soul may advance through resisting the attacks of the demons by seeking help from God with great humility and fear; and in this way it gradually comes to know the wickedness of its enemy. A mother does much the same when she finds her child rebellious over feeding: she pushes it away for a moment so that, being alarmed by the sight of some animals or rough-looking men, it will return crying with fright to her breast.

April 25, 2001

FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SORROWFUL PASSION, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD.

UNWED MOTHERS SET A RECORD FOR BIRTHS

A record 1.3 million babies were born out of wedlock in 1999, marking the first time that a full one-third of all U.S. births were to unwed mothers, the federal government said last week. The increases are the result of demographic changes and an increasing tolerance for couples to have children without marrying, said analysts.

There is also a lack of national and political willpower to tackle illegitimacy, said Heritage Foundation analyst Robert Rector. "The greatest failure of welfare reform is that the governors have grievously neglected the issue of marriage," said Mr. Rector, adding that only four governors, including President Bush during his the governorship of Texas, have promoted marriage in any way.

In 1999, according to the NCHS, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services´ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

* Out of 3,959,417 births, 1,308,560 were to unwed mothers, the highest number ever recorded. This compares with 1,293,567 unwed births in 1998 and 1,257,444 unwed births in 1997.

* Thirty-three percent of all births were out of wedlock. This is a slight increase from the past five years, which saw an average 32.4 percent of births out of wedlock.

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Alfred G Perez:

ONE MILLION ROSARIES TO END ABORTION
A Pro-life Prayer Event
MAY 12 , 2001 , Saturday

On May 12 (Saturday) 2001, during one particular hour (see below), it is hoped that one million people will pray the Rosary (Joyful Mystery) for an end to the surgical and non-surgical killing of unborn babies. Will you, on May 12, Pray the rosary for an end to abortion? Praying your one Rosary can help make the goal of 1 million a reality.
Times are:
9:00 am - 10:00 am EASTERN
8:00 am - 9:00 am CENTRAL
7:00 am - 8:00 am MOUNTAIN
6:00 am - 7:00 am PACIFIC

"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his/her existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a PERSON-among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life." -Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2270

Rosaries for Life P.O. box 41831 Memphis, Tennessee 38174 U.S.A.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

85 (cont.). Nevertheless, at times God allows the demons to attack even one who has reached this measure of perfection, and leaves his intellect without light, so that his free will shall not be completely constrained by the bonds of grace. The purpose of this is not only to lead us to overcome sin through ascetic effort but also to help us advance still further in spiritual experience. For what is considered perfection in a pupil is far from perfect when compared with the richness of God, who instructs us in a love which would still seek to surpass itself, even if we were able to climb to the top of Jacob's ladder by our own efforts.

April 24, 2001

(Psa 2:1-6) Why do the nations rage and the peoples utter folly? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the Lord and against his anointed: "Let us break their fetters and cast their bonds from us!" He who is throned in heaven laughs; the Lord derides them. Then in anger he speaks to them; he terrifies them in his wrath: "I myself have set up my king on Zion, my holy mountain." I will proclaim the decree of the Lord.

CLINTON: ISRAEL 'THE MOST DIFFICULT PLACE TO MAKE PEACE'

Former US President Bill Clinton said efforts to bring peace to the Middle East produced some of the toughest challenges of his administration.

"The holy land is the most difficult place to make peace on Earth," Clinton said Sunday.

He said that remains so despite the teachings of the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all originating in that region, to love and respect other human beings.

Clinton recalled that when Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed in 1998 at Wye River, Maryland, on an interim land-for-peace deal on the West Bank, he told Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat he couldn't bring a gun to the signing ceremony. In 1993 he had to insist to then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that he shake hands with Arafat.

RELATED HEADLINES

Non-lethal car bomb a 'miracle'
Violence intensifies in Mideast
Iran wants to unite Hamas, Hizbullah in anti-Israel war
Islamic Jihad leader urges strikes deep in Israel

(Psa 122:6)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

85 (cont.). As a result, the demonic attacks cannot now penetrate to the depths of the soul, but can prick only that part of it which is subject to passion. When the ascetic has finally acquired all the virtues- and in particular the total shedding of possessions- then grace illumines his whole being with a deeper awareness, warming him with great love of God. From now on the arrows of the fiery demon are extinguished before they reach the body; for the breath of the Holy Spirit, arousing in the heart the winds of peace, extinguishes them while they are still in mid-air.

April 23, 2001

(Exo 9:1-3)  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, so that they may worship me."  If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back,  the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field--on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats.

SHEEP LED TO SLAUGHTER AT HUGE UK BURIAL SITE

The first thing that hits you is the stench along the winding roads leading to the huge livestock burial site in northern England.

Trucks loaded with bleating sheep queue outside the gates of the heavily restricted area, waiting their turn to drop off live cargo which will be dead and underground in a matter of minutes.

The numbers are staggering.

Over 380,000 animals have already been disposed of at Great Orton Airfield outside Carlisle, near the Scottish border, in a drive to stamp out the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease in Cumbria, the worst affected area in Britain.

Contractors expect to dig around 40 giant burial trenches, each 150 metres long, four metres deep and five metres wide and able to hold more than 20,000 carcasses.

Soldiers helping to dispose of the bodies said on Friday that they could "process" up to 2,000 sheep in an hour and 20,000 in a day.

RELATED NEWSLINKS

Whitman says foot-mouth disease could spread to US
Livestock disease claims new victims: Consumers
Cases of foot and mouth disease in humans

FROM THE MAILBAG

VIA David J. Sheehan: I have not written to you in a while. I have a favor to ask. Jeff Reed, Exec. Director of St. David's Relief Foundation asked me to get the word out regarding this year's summer work camp program.

All the details are at http://www.stdavids.org/h20work.htm.

I know you are taking your Lenten sabbatical. So if this program meets with your approval, but you want to wait until Easter to put it out, that's okay. Each year God draws people out of the sea of humanity to come to Bosnia. This will be my third year. I had not planned to go, but at the moment when I had mentally said "no" to going, God intervened in a strange way and let me know His will.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

85 (cont.). At the same time, however, it allows the arrows of the devil to wound the soul at the most inward point of its sensitivity, so as to make the soul search out God with warmer resolve and more humble disposition. If, then, a man begins to make progress in keeping the commandments and calls ceaselessly upon the Lord Jesus, the fire of God's grace spreads even to the heart's more outward organs of perception, consciously burning up the tares in the field of the soul.

April 22, 2001 - DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

(Rev 1:17-18)  When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, "Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.

Brief History of the Octave of Easter

The octave day, without having the symbolic importance of the seventh day, had also its role. The eighth day was the day of circumcision (Gen., xxi, 4; Lev., xii, 3; Luke, i, 59; Acts, vii, 8 etc.). The feast of the Tabernacles, which lasted seven days, was followed on the eighth by a solemnity which may be considered as an octave (Lev., xxiii, 36, 39; Num., xxix, 35; II Esd., viii, 18); the eighth day was the day of certain sacrifices (Lev. xiv 10, 23; xv, 14, 29; Num., vi, 10). It was on the eighth day, too, that the feast of the dedication of the Temple under Solomon, and of its purifications under Ezechias concluded (II Par., vii, 9; xxix, 17).

In the fourth century Easter and Pentecost were given octaves. Possibly at first this was only a baptismal custom, the neophytes remaining in a kind of joyful retreat from Easter or Pentecost till the following Sunday. Moreover, the Sunday which, after the feasts of Easter and Pentecost, fell on the eighth day, came as a natural conclusion of the seven feast days after these two festivals.

Decree (2000 AD) Establishing the Sunday after Easter 'Divine Mercy Sunday'

Merciful and gracious is the Lord (Ps 111:4), who out of the great love with which he loved us (Eph 2:4) and with unspeakable goodness, gave us his Only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, so that through the Death and Resurrection of this Son he might open the way to eternal life for the human race, and that the adopted children who receive his mercy within his temple might lift up his praise to the ends of the earth.

In our times, the Christian faithful in many parts of the world wish to praise that divine mercy in divine worship, particularly in the celebration of the Paschal Mystery, in which God's loving kindness especially shines forth.

Acceding to these wishes, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II has graciously determined that in the Roman Missal, after the title "Second Sunday of Easter", there shall henceforth be added the appellation "(or Divine Mercy Sunday"), and has prescribed that the texts assigned for that day in the same Missal and the Liturgy of the Hours of the Roman Rite are always to be used for the liturgical celebration of this Sunday.

Key Related Dates

On April 18, 1993, on the first Sunday after Easter, in St. Peterís Square in Rome, Pope John Paul II declared Sister Faustina Kowalska of the community of the Blessed.

On April 30, 2000, on Mercy Sunday, Sister Faustina Kowalska, the first saint of the new millennium, was cannonized by Pope John Paul II.

Related Links

Saint Faustina and Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy
Mercy Sunday in Your Area ****

FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SORROWFUL PASSION, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

85. The reason why we have both good and wicked thoughts together is not, as some suppose, because the Holy Spirit and the devil dwell together in our intellect, but because we have not yet consciously experienced the goodness of the Lord. As I have said before, grace at first conceals its presence in those who have been baptized, waiting to see which way the soul inclines; but when the whole man has turned towards the Lord, it then reveals to the heart its presence there with a feeling which words cannot express, once again waiting to see which way the soul inclines.

April 16, 2001

The Trib Times will, God willing, resume regular publication on Sunday.

TRIB TIMES SPECIAL REPORT

Israeli air strike against Syrian radar station raises risk of major flare-up

Israel's air strikes Monday against a Syrian army position in Lebanon signaled a policy shift and was meant to warn Damascus that it will be held accountable for Lebanese guerrilla attacks on Israel, government officials said.

In recent years, Israel had bombed guerrilla targets in retaliation for cross-border raids, but stopped short of attacking Syrian installations in Lebanon to avoid further conflagration.

Raanan Gissin, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, suggested that more air raids could follow if Syria, the main power in Lebanon, failed to restrain Lebanese guerrillas, including the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group.

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said that "the rules of the game have changed."

"We sent a message to the Syrians that we see them as the only ones responsible, but at the same time ... I am trying to prevent an escalation," Ben-Eliezer said.

RELATED NEWSLINKS

Syria calls Israeli attack dangerous escalation
Syrian envoy in Moscow,Israeli raid worries Russia
Israeli raid on Syrians sparks international concern
Palestinians say Mideast closer to war
Egypt slams Israeli strikes on Syrian troops

EDITOR'S NOTE

Bashar Assad, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist who replaced his ruthless father as President of Syria, is largely untested in world politics.  His reaction to the death of Syrian soldiers at the hands of the Israelis will be carefully scrutinized by friends and foes in the region.  A political commentary written by CNN last year, http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/06/12/syria6_12.a.tm/index.html is as timely today as when it was originally written.

Entry by Syria into the explosive Middle East conflict could cause a rapid escalation into an all-out Arab-Israeli conflict. One is reminded that the following Scripture passage has yet to be fulfilled in history:

(Isa 17:1-2)  An oracle concerning Damascus: "See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid.

Please join me in praying for God's Mercy on us and on the whole world!!

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

84. The Lord says in the Gospel that a strong man cannot be expelled from a house unless someone stronger than himself disarms him, binds him and casts him out (cf. Matt. 12:29). How, then, can such an intruder, cast out in this shameful way, return and dwell together with the true master who now lives freely in his own house? A king, after defeating a rebel who has tried to usurp his throne, does not dream of allowing him to share his palace. Rather, he slays him immediately, or binds him and hands him over to his soldiers for prolonged torture and a miserable death.

March 1, 2001

(Eccl 3:1) There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven

LENTEN SABBATICAL

The TRIB TIMES will not be updated again this year during the Lenten season, extending to the first week after Easter.  I am looking forwards to an increase in time spent in prayer as well as in spiritual reading.  Many saints of the early Church retired to the desert to escape societies that were primitive by today's standards. Though our modern lives may be more comfortable than those of past generations, it seems that the price that we pay is a lack of peace, that is true peace. Traffic, beapers, cellular phones, the internet and other modern "wonders" act together to drain us of our spiritual energy. Though a wonderful tool for evangelization and information, the internet can be spiritually stifling, sometimes even oppressively so. My prayer is that this Lenten season will provide the atmosphere necessary to more consistently lead a life centered in prayer and God's peace.

My computer time will be limited to 30 minutes each morning and evening during Lent. I will read all emails I receive, and will answer all that I can, time permitting.  I may also occasionally email non-reformatted news articles to Trib Times subscribers that I find to be of particular importance. But barring a major event, the Trib Times web page itself will not be updated.

I apologize to all who have recently subscribed but will keep your email information for use after my return.  God willing, the next issue of the Trib Times should be on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 22, 2000.  Please keep me in your prayers, and be assured that I will do the same.

I can recommend the following links to keep up with important news:

Catholic News
http://www.ewtn.com/headlines.asp
http://www.spiritdaily.com/

Signs of the Times
http://www.upway.com/cgi-bin/went.cgi
http://artbell.com/quicknews.html

General News Sources
http://www.cnn.com/index.html
http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/index.html
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/

My Personal Bookmarks
http://www.catholicprophecy.info/bookmark.html

A Lenten Reflection: Humility reminds us that in the physical act of pointing at our neighbor's faults we must, by necessity, direct one finger at them and three fingers at ourselves.

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." (Num 6:24 -26)

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Diadochos "On Spiritual Knowledge"

83 (cont.). The flesh delights endlessly in being flattered by deception, and it is because of this that the thoughts sown by the demons in the soul appear to come from the heart; and we do indeed make them our own when we consent to indulge in them. This was what the Lord was censuring in the text quoted above (Matt. 15:18-19), as the words themselves make evident. Is it not clear that whoever indulges in the thoughts suggested to him by Satan's cunning and engraves them in his heart, produces them thereafter as the result of his own mental activity?

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