I’ve been humbled to read about the recent heightened persecution of Christians around the world; how in Egypt, 21 Christians were kidnapped in Libya and beheaded for their faith in Christ.
In fact, since Jesus laid down His life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs.
While in America I have experienced a bit of emotional and verbal chastising due to my faith, it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the pain and mental agony for those who are imprisoned or even killed for their faith. The degree to the persecution that I have experienced in America is not even comparable, causing me to question how I would respond in that same situation. Another part of me wants to disconnect and run away because the pain is too hard to think about. But when I take this is to prayer, I weep, tears streaming down my face… their identification with Christ’s suffering on the cross and the depth of a faith that is tried and true inspires me to live more fully.
In his homily to conclude the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis writes that this is an “Ecumenism of Blood.”
As the body of Christ, our brothers and sisters around the world are part of us – and through prayer we can fulfill the command that “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” (2 Cor 12:26)
Whenever a persecuted Christian is asked how we can help, the answer is always, “Pray for us.” Let us unite in prayer for the persecuted church, in the spirit of oneness that Christ asks of us.