True living faith
It’s May 26th 2017. A group of pilgrims are on a bus heading to a monastery in the Egyptian desert. The ancient province takes its name after St Samuel – a 7th century Egyptian monk who was tortured to renounce his specific Christian faith and left with one eye.
Out of nowhere 3 trucks arrive and quickly surround the innocent travelers. Moments later, after much screaming, the bus is left motionless, raked with bullets and smashed windows. Angels hover to earth and carry up the souls of 29 new martyrs to heaven, whilst 24 others are left wounded.
Following the event, Julie Ibrahim, a brave and bold little girl is interviewed. Seven of her family members were among the victims. During the interview, she heartily requests that God forgives the ISIS terrorists for their wickedness. At the end, she states in no detectable exaggerated tone, referring to her dead family members, “They are now at the best place, I want to go there with them”.
Here is a picture of genuine and flawless Christianity! Here is an example that makes my heart glow with indescribable hope and uncontainable faith. Who can hear of such intriguing accounts of faith, and not marvel at the grace of a great God at work?
From this, we can only conclude that there certainly exists some sort of extreme joy and power that comes to proper Christians. This presents infallible proof that when Orthodoxy makes promises of comfort and peace, it surely deliver them to those who are faithful.
For 20 centuries, our ancestors in Egypt have been mowed to death in large numbers and they don’t die in a usual way. Instead of being depressed and wallowing in self-pity, they go down to the grave with great joy. Peace seems to radiate from their hearts to the same degrees at which the sun radiates heat.
Comparing ourselves to this grandness of faith and this hugeness of heart of this little girl and the persecuted Copts, we realize… here is Christianity in its most refined form. Through them they are like a kind of mirror of whether or not we are true in our faith.
How can we learn from these people
What can we do after such formidable Christianity is manifested, that arouse our hearts with a blessed jealousy? Let us listen to that great teacher of the church St Paul when he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
- Do you suffer illness? Then rejoice brother! Be happy because this is the Lord’s modern-day method of salvation for those who wish to be saved.
- Are you disappointed by educational failure or career setbacks? Brother rejoice! Remain faithful to our sweet Christ and God’s providence will certainly guide you to a better future.
- Are you exhausted by feelings of loneliness and abandonment by others? Brother rejoice! Deepen your prayer life for if you truly commune with Him frequently, you will never feel lonely.
- Do you suffer injustice and rudeness from a beloved one? Brother rejoice! For the Lord is bringing you to a deeper humility and training you in the great good of patience and love.
There is no greater joy than to be an Orthodox Christian. There is nothing more valuable on this earth, no other fact that calls for unceasing celebration than that we were born into the Orthodox Church. How then can we ever be depressed, distressed or despondent?
Axios. Worthy, worth are you O new martyrs. O glorious ones resting in heavenly bliss, pray heartily for our salvation to the Lord of powers.
What are your thoughts on the faith of the Copts?