My Beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing every goodness and blessing
I send you this letter while the news of Fr. Samaan’s martyrdom is still in our hearts and this brings us to contemplate the meaning of martyrdom and our responsibilities toward the families of the martyrs and confessors.
Martyrdom is connected to the cross, for the cross is a sign of the love of God for us who sent His only begotten Son who took our human nature and died on the cross for us, the sinners. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not parish, but have everlasting life” Jn. 3:16
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jn.15:13
The cross is victory, for Christ was victorious over the cross and bound it. He conquered the pride of the devil through humility and overcame Satan’s call for violence and hatred with peace, love and forgiveness. The cross is victory for Christ who triumphed over the principles of Satan with peace, love, and forgiveness.
The cross for us is salvation, for Christ saved us by His death from the slavery of death and sin and we became free. “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Jn.8:36
The cross is a testimony to the whole world of the love of God and the redemptive work of Christ to save humanity. It is pride and glory for us for we are proud of the cross for the cross is our pride and our strength.
Martyrdom is love; for the martyr offers his life for the love of Christ who loved him and gave His life for his salvation.
Martyrdom is victory over fear and death.
Martyrdom is preaching to others; for one of the church fathers said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Martyrdom is fellowship in the pain of Christ with Christ, as St. Paul said, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Ph.3:10, and he also said, “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Rom.8:17
Martyrdom is glory, for whoever is martyred receives the crown of martyrdom and is glorified with Christ. Therefore, the church magnifies the martyrs and puts them at the highest ranks as a living example of withstanding pain and steadfastness in the faith, till the end.
Martyrdom is a soul that affects our spiritual life. Truly, not everyone sheds their blood for the sake of Christ, but every Christian person is asked to deny himself and carry his cross. This is a sign of a true disciple for Christ our Lord who said, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Heb. 12:4, and, “and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2Tim.3:12
Martyrdom does not have a certain time period, truly, there were times in the past that persecution was fierce against the church and her children, but in every age the church offered martyrs from her righteous children.
Currently, we live in a new age of martyrdom, where increasingly painful events take place which results in the martyrdom of many church children. We need to strengthen the faith of the weak, for while we see amazing examples of souls that held on to the faith to the last breath, there are also weak souls that weaken even further in the face of persecution. Thus serving, teaching sound spiritual teachings, and offering the Bible to every soul – these are the things that can help strengthen the faith so that those with weak souls may not weaken in the face of persecution.
As for our persecutors, we need to reveal their evil and oppression and pray for their repentance, that their eyes may be opened to be free from the slavery of evil; offering them forgiveness and love for the bible teaches, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21
May the Lord protect His church and His children and bless your generous offering to support Santa Verena Charity programs, in supporting the families of the martyrs and the confessors.