The Maronite Church, a Church of Hope (Part 1)

The Christians in general (and Maronites, in particular) are the children of history and are the children of the Divine initiative in creation as well as in salvation. Their hope is rooted in this Divine work, whose main traits are embodied in God’s fulfillment of His promises that will be achieved despite all adversities. This is why historical memory is considered one of the carriers of hope. When the believer looks over the history of salvation and the history of his Church he discovers, that he too is the son of the promise that began with Abraham, was fulfilled in Christ, and will reach its fulfillment in the kingdom of Heaven. That is why he clings to the hope that does not disappoint because its source and its foundations are in God. This does not mean that he runs away from or avoids the harshness of reality; rather he faces this reality with faith and with determination. What was considered indignation turns into a blessing by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God has placed in our hearts to form the deep-rooted basis for our hope. 

The Maronite liturgical texts are very rich in expressing the theme of hope because they are inspired by the Holy Bible as a history of salvation with an accent on the eschatological. We look in this text at one single model which is the weekly Divine Office in Ordinary Time. This model is sufficient to offer a clear idea of the concept of hope, its content and the horizons that it opens. 

- There are numerous texts that address Christ as the only hope for believers because He is the Savior of the world and never disappoints those who rely on Him. “Glory be to your mercy O Christ our King, O Son of God to whom all creatures bow. You are our King, our Lord, and our reason for living, you are our great hope” (Office for Thursday morning: the Hymns of St. Ephrem). “You are our realm, our treasure, our precious pearl, our wreath and our crown” (Thursday: Office of the ninth hour, proem ion). 

- Further, the metaphors used in describing Christ as the Light, the Resurrection, and the Life, the deeds that he has done throughout his life, his exhortations to rely on Him, encourage believers to take refuge in Him and to ask for His aid: “We know not of another door to knock upon except Your door O God because You have said through Your sacred words: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Saturday evening). 

- The prayers are rich in reciting the wonders of God in the Old and the New Testaments and the prayers beseech Him to intervene now. Also, the appearance of Christ to his Apostles, the calming of the storm, the salvation of Daniel and the sons of Hanania are mentioned in these prayers: “Hear our prayers like You have heard theirs, O good and clement Lord; answer our prayers, like You have accepted theirs; protect us under Your wings on the day of Your coming O Lord because our hope lies in You, and we rely on You, and it is You whom we call Our God, for glory be unto You” (Monday evening, the fourth rising). 

Countless are the texts in the Maronite liturgy asking God that since He has answered the prayers of many of His servants, so He may also answer the prayers of those who beseech Him now because He is their succor and their hope.

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