Further proof that God never ceases to surprise us.
Tonight, I found myself continually surprised—and moved, uplifted and inspired at an interfaith prayer service for Syria and the Middle East at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral in Brooklyn.
There, clergy and laity representing Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, prayed a variation of Evening Prayer of the Maronite Catholic Church. Archbishop Francis Chullikatt (shown above), the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, was one of the speakers. Among the astonishments: a Druze cleric leading us in the Lord’s Prayer, and a version of “Immaculate Mary” sung in Arabic. As one of the clergy noted when we gathered for a snapshot in a side chapel afterward: “We are all Syrians, really. We are all from the Middle East.” It was a beautiful evening.
From one of the prayers:
O Lord, the night and the day are yours; you uphold the light and the sun. Through your power you direct the sequence of the seasons. You have brought the day to its close and called forth the night. Be for us that great day that never ends. In the evening, let your light shine in our hearts, and in the darkness of the night, enlighten us with the knowledge of your truth. And so, through all the days of our lives, we shall praise you, O God. to you be glory and may your mercy rest upon us, now and forever.