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LAITY IN THE CHURCH - page 6 / 21

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sanctify or make holy," in other words, "I am going to say Mass."

To me this active response mirrors the sense of family that becomes one in this celebration of the Liturgy.  Isn't this beau­tiful call of the whole family to sanctify?

We in the Church today are no different than the people of God in the Old Testament.  We have failed and continue to fail living our mission of "royal priesthood" and of "holy nation" or "sanc­tified nation."  Our crisis is not an identity crisis but a crisis of choice.  We have our identity.  However, the ways and means need continual reflection, adjustment, and alignment, because this one family is no longer confined to Lebanon but rather spread into the whole world.  Since the earliest days of our Maronite forebears in Syria long before they came into Lebanon, and long after as well, our Maronite identity has been forged and tested in dispersion.  In this we share directly with the Hebrew people.  But they, and we, could never have kept that faith had we not first been incorporated into a blessed bond with the Lord.

Our identity is the same:  to live the covenant, accept to be an active part of the royal priesthood, and a holy nation.  Exter­nals such as "kibbi," "tabboule," and "dabke" are not the answer, even though they sometimes seem to be more lasting than

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