Our life for Christ

Friends in Christ,
In these days, Christianity is under attack from all directions. Not only the secret enemies slithering through the secular society of today, but also direct, open enemies that cut off heads of Christians.
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Not long ago you may have seen the picture of the terrorists from ISIS lining up Christians along the sea in orange jumpsuits where they would be decapitated. Those were Coptic Christians, and like the Orthodox, their faith is quite close to ours.
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In solidarity with our brethren suffering persecution, I read that at some churches around the U.S., people are coming to Church on Sunday wearing orange. Orange jumpsuits, or orange armbands, or orange ribbons. I think this is great.
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When we read of the sad situation of our brothers and sisters we can’t help but put ourselves in their shoes ā€“ how would it be to be pressured to give up the faith in exchange for one’s life? And decapitation is not clean, as with a guillotine, but with a knife ā€“ gruesome. Yet people are giving their life rather than deny the Lord.
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In the first reading today, we see the same pressure facing the early Church; ‘We gave you strict orders to stop teaching in that Name,’ said the high priest. But the apostles answered: ‘We must obey God rather than men. And they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.’
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Friends, we can’t expect to have the courage to give our life for the faith, to endure suffering for Christ, unless we become accustomed to doing the same in small things. As Our Lord said, ‘he that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much.’ So we must accustom ourselves to choosing Christ over the world, choosing God’s will over our own, choosing the moral way rather than the easy way. ‘We must obey God rather than men.’ If we can do this in practice with small things, only then would we be prepared for greater things, for the glory of God.
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It is true, that the honor of martyrdom is not accorded everyone, but we should live our life in constant training, so that we would be worthy of that call of Christ.

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