I’ve learnt something important from the horrors of the last few weeks. As I pray for the Christians in Mosul, it becomes clear to me that I need their prayers more than they need mine. I do my best to pray for them, and my heart is filled with a sort of wonder at the strength of their faith. Their faith overwhelms me, their sacrifice and love for Christ is beyond anything I have ever done, and there is something in me that says ‘be silent, look and learn’.
My prayer for them has now changed. I just look at these people, and I thank God for the humbling gift of allowing me to witness these new martyrs walking on their way to salvation before my very eyes. I think about the martyrs of the early centuries, how they were dragged to be tortured and killed before the eyes of the mob around them. These people are the new martyrs – we are the new mob. These people are the ones on whose heads Christ places crowns of martyrdom, we are the ones witnessing it.
I know things are always complicated in this world; I am aware there are endless nuances to these problems, and that perhaps very few of these people had lived a saintly life prior to this persecution. But that is their past – their present is Christ. These tired, dirty, hungry people have left everything for Him; I think of that and I’m ashamed to be praying for them.
We are just people in the crowd, watching their martyrdom. We are witnessing the birth of holiness; we are part of a miracle.
PS: Please forgive me for disappearing for a week; with everything happening in the world, with so much much violence and horror, nothing else seems worthy of much attention. Life just freezes somehow.