Fifth Day SYM – Fr. Munir: the youth of SYM, forgiveness and Syria

Fifth Day SYM – Fr. Munir: the youth of SYM, forgiveness and Syria

SYM Don Bosco

“Salesians are willing to be martyrs by remaining in Syria”, with these words Fr. Munir El Ra’I, the Salesian Provincial of Middle East, began the fourth and the final day of SYM2015 at Pala Ruffini, before moving on to Colle Don Bosco. The day was dedicated to the sacrament of reconciliation and punctuated by the intervention of the Syrian priest.

We Salesians are present in 7 countries of Middle East which are conflict driven and riddled with interests that are contrary to humanity, freedom and democracy. On the other hand, it is a big game, very complex in which, it is the people and the youth bear the brunt (…) a big game, played by all the great powers because Syria is an important and a strategic area. Well, we, Salesians are present and have decided to stay there despite the war and the difficulties. We Salesians are willing to be martyrs, rather than leave the place”.

“To speak of forgiveness and love for the enemies is not an easy thing. Aleppo, is my city. It is the city actually, worst affected in the world. More than 30,00,000 people are affected by the total destruction. I tried to ask the youth of Aleppo if they could forgive and love their enemies. I asked a girl who was kidnapped with her family for 4 months and a youth whose house was destroyed, a lady teacher of the kindergarten whose child died in her arms, shot by a sniper and to youth who have lost their family and friends. All of them tell me that they cannot forgive and it is difficult. There is no hate in them but to love their enemies is unthinkable, for the moment. May be, they tell me, we should be saints to forgive them. In future we might succeed in forgiving them but for now it is difficult. But despite everything, in the confessions they ask the Lord to help them to forgive!!! A difficult process but is not impossible. May seem to be unthinkable. Madness to ask to forgive but what is Christian life if not a life of unthinkable elements. We have our war and you, yours. But it is necessary to learn to forgive and love at the end. Madness, there is no human logic in forgivness. But being with Christ is to be crazy and teach the unique and universal language of love. Being with Christ demands being prepared and well nourished. We are all invited to learn the language of love, that is on a special frequency.

Well, I invite you to be crazy, be crazy with Christ. A madness that demands a great sacrifice also a sacrifice of life. These days in Middle East, despite the suffering, lots of youth have offered their life to Christ. We have many ordinations even with bombings. Youth who give their life in service for the people of Syria. A madness, but have learned the language of Christ. I invite you to be crazy, learn the language of love, forgive, be crazy in Christ and to you all the doors will be open”.

“We are all touched by sin but the most beautiful thing is the return to Christ. To do so need courage and once on the path of return to Christ, be prepared to be embraced by the open arms. It is then we shall have the gift of forgiveness”.

Fr. Munir was then asked how to educate the youth to forgive. We, who have chosen to remain in Middle East, shall teach the youth to accept the others working with other religions and race; accept the others whoever it might be. Secondly ask them to have an intimate and strong relationship with Christ. Only the force of faith can guide us to forgiveness. Finally let us invite them to live the sacrament of reconciliation and Eucharist. Don Bosco said that there are two wings with which we can fly to heaven – the Eucharist and the reconciliation. Only with these you could fly. Take courage dear youth, courage!!!”

The next programme is on Sunday 16th August, at Colle Don Bosco, for the conclusion of the Bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Don Bosco.