“Holding firm to our Crucified Lord and persevering in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master!”
(Based on Rev 15:1-4 and Lk 21:12-19 – Wednesday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)
The Nicene Creed – also called Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed – is a Christian statement of faith
It is ecumenical in nature (i.e. relating to, or representing the whole body of churches)
The Creed – in general – is accepted as authoritative by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches.
This Creed was first composed and adapted at the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD.
One of the standout aspects – hardly ever brought to light – is about the participants of this Council of Nicea.
Many of the participants – of the approximately 318 Council participants – had lost an eye or lost a hand or limped on a leg…
… as a result of the torture they suffered for their Christian faith!
These bishops who met at Nicea had just come out of an extremely challenging time of intense persecution by the Romans, having lived through the cruelty of the Emperors Diocletian (ruling 284-305) and Maximian (ruling 286-305)
According to one ancient writer Theodoret (393-457), “the Council looked like an assembled army of martyrs!”
The Nicean Council was thus, not merely a gathering of intellectuals – discussing and deliberating; rather was a holy coming together of passionate individuals…
… who lived the Faith
… who suffered for the Faith
… and who wished everyone in the future, grows and lives the Faith, with utmost faithfulness!
These ancient people travelled to Nicea with broken bodies to formulate what was worth living and dying for!
This is the reality of Christianity
Every follower of Christ is reminded to joyfully accept a life of struggle and suffering, in order to discover the true joys of Faith!
Every joy in life is accompanied by the companionship of some pain and suffering.
This is the reality of life.
Christian life is an affirmation of this reality.
The joy of being a Christian is accompanied by the cross of pain and suffering.
The delight in sharing Christ’s peace is escorted by the reality of some trials and tribulations.
The Gospel of the Day reminds us of this factor: Experiencing…
… the mighty power of God in the midst of weaknesses of life.
… the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.
… the serene peace of God in the middle of terrors of life.
The Lord continues His discourse on the signs of the end times and the forthcoming persecutions that will be the lot of those who believe and follow Him.
Jesus doesn’t tone down in any measure in warning of the future calamities that will befall on His followers:
“They will seize and persecute you… They will hand you over to synagogues and prison…
They will lead you before kings and governors…
You will be handed over by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends…
You will be put to death… You will be hated by all…” (Lk 21: 12-18)
The list of persecutions is too long, right?
For those who consider Christianity as an easy stroll in the part, this is a shocker!
For those who consider following Christ as comfort on a bed of roses, this is a stunner!
Sometimes our faith in Christ remains merely a statement on paper.
As Baptized people – whether as infants or as adults – we’ve the duty to grow in the grace bestowed on us.
To follow Christ is a privilege granted to us.
To become His Disciples is a special opportunity conferred on us.
But we often squander away the blessings that the Lord gives us without realizing its worth.
As a Christian and a follower of Christ…
We love His blessings…
… but get depressed when pains or sufferings come our way.
We crave for joy…
… but get irritated when things don’t go in the way we wish.
We seek for a comfortable life…
… but get wild with Him when we lose some luxuries.
The Lord however, invites us to a life of deeper perseverance and courage: “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21: 19)
For the one who believes in Christ…
Every sickness, can be a moment to experience the Lord as a Healer.
Every financial crisis, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Provider.
Every spiritual struggle, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Saviour.
Every break in relationship, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Unifier.
Every encounter in failure, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Sovereign Lord
Every doubt of the future, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Supreme Master
All these affirmations will remain peripheral and theoretical, unless we trust in the Lord.
Many might say…
… “I don’t believe in a God who allows calamities and persecutions.”
… “I don’t want a relation with a God who permits suffering and pains.”
But this is where challenge of our Baptismal Consecration comes to fruition…
To be with the Lord, in total commitment, when the going gets tough.
To remain united with the Lord, in complete faithfulness, when the road gets bumpy.
To fix one’s eyes on the Lord, in absolute trust, when the skies are darkened.
In the words of Kahlil Gibran, the writer:
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”
Jesus has shown us the path in the Way of the Cross.
Jesus has broken Himself for us in the Holy Eucharist.
In Him is True Life.
In Him is Genuine Peace.
In Him is Everlasting Happiness.
Let us hold firm to our Crucified Lord and persevere in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master.
With joy and passion, in the words of the Nicene Creed, let us unceasingly proclaim:
“I believe in One God…
… and the life of the world to come, Amen!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Have patience with all things…
… but chiefly have patience with yourself.
Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections…