August was the month of the Spiritual Exercises. There were six batches of the Spiritual Exercises – for youth and adults, for religious sisters and priests – preached by Father Rodrigo, in Arabic and English.
“The war has made us return to the essential things,” they say here often. They have lost a lot of things during these times; they have lost loved ones in a dreadful manner; overnight, they have lost their homes, jobs and businesses; they have lost their dreams and their future; they have lost the peace and harmony of their streets, and the carefree games of their children.
It seems that they have lost everything…
But … they have not lost their smile! And even in the midst of so many tears because of their suffering, they have not stopped smiling and thanking God! That’s because, although they have lost so much, they have spiritually gained much more. The most obvious sign is how they live the Mass. The interest in knowing the liturgy, the active participation in the singing, the devotion and silence … These have certainly increased!
So the spiritual exercises this year were entirely remarkable. They were an answer to the thirst for prayer and for a more intimate union with God, to which they feel called.
They have lost a lot … but have gained much more …. Eternal life!
Missionaries in Aleppo