Dear Assembly,

I am happy to begin my speech by quoting Gibran Khalil Gibran: “Love gives only of itself and takes only from itself. Love does not possess anything nor desires to be possessed by anyone because love is self-sufficient.”

Also Master Kamal Jumblatt, speaking about love, said: “It is the depth that must always be behind every approach, action, opinion or saying, even in the middle of the battle of moral or material violence, and it is crowned by divine love.”

If we look at divine love in the major religions of the world, we find that, despite their great differences which often equate to contradictions, God’s love is the common factor among all religions that carry within them love and righteousness towards each other.

And divine love is generous and all encompassing.  It allows those who are willing to walk in whatever way seems appropriate and consistent with their state and psyche. Hence, we say there are many ways in which a person can progress to divine love. A person might find himself moving between some or all of these ways but having the same goal: to reach the love of God.  Their journey might include several elements such as:

Love – beauty – asceticism – worship – morality.

Truly, most people who have chosen their path to God agree that love is the primary goal of divine love.  God is the pure and mystical love that approaches everyone with love. Love brings people together unconditionally.  It works for their good and happiness and seeks excuses for them in their mistakes.  It strengthens them in their weaknesses and has mercy on them in their falls.

It is widely agreed that beauty enables man to reach divine love.  This includes all beauty.  Man sees the beauty of roses, the grace of trees, the sweetness of birds, the magic of the sky;  in every creature, a sign of the beauty of the Creator ignites in man’s heart the flame of love for his Creator, which increases his beauty and proximity to divine love.  Thus, taste for beauty is one of the sure means that prepares the heart to receive a flood of divine light full of love.

If we talk about asceticism, we mean to completely leave aside the world and its pleasures, in order to set the soul on its right path.  A preference for poverty and hunger removes worldly desires which impede the journey towards divine love. Every honest seeker knows the truth about himself and the ways of the world to be avoided in pursuit of true love.

As for worship, where man goes directly to his Lord, it may seem a cumbersome and difficult way, but it is the moment of comfort that man tastes amid the worries of the world.  He enters through the door of worship, prayer and recitation of the holy books.  In unceasing remembrance of God, alone with his Lord, man leaves behind loneliness and reaches union with God.

On the other hand, morality is where man keeps the attributes of God in mind and works hard to attain the high ground.  God brings only goodness to all His creatures and goodness is the sign of love. The best way to reach the light of true love is through that moral code which brings man to  divine love.  Recognising that the road to God is full of barriers which separate man from his worldly desires and benefits, man must struggle through the details of these worthless worldly endeavours. But the divine light placed before his eyes prevents him from reaching for things that God does not want for him.

Divine love: Hearts gathered on the basis of goodness come together in honesty and pledge so to continue.  They have a strong and distinctive relationship.  They rejoice together and grieve together.  No passion divides them and no demon leads them.  Love is their only guide to the divine love that brings us together.

Finally, I extend a heartfelt word of thanks to Mrs. Vassula Ryden with love filled with all the meanings of friendship and brotherhood; a salute from the heart to the heart, words I say mixed with love and appreciation and respect.  Even if I were given all of the eloquence of speech and excelled in poetry and prose, I would only remain negligent and incompetent when it comes to the duty of thanking you for your kind invitation to attend this conference, where we eagerly await to meet our loved ones, through whom we learn about the whole world and all the civilizations.

 

Nizam Bou Khzam