The story of martyrdom in the history of the early church is the story of early Christianity and its spread across time and everywhere. It illuminates the way to the kingdom with the light of true faith granted to us from the Father through His only begotten Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This great love was manifested on the cross, as He made Himself a sacrifice of atonement for the whole world, in order to bestow salvation and eternal life to all who believe in him and want to live a life of holiness. The pure life, deeds and virtues of those martyrs are luminous before our eyes, encouraging us to walk in their footsteps to enjoy our eternity.
The heavenly crowns, prepared for the martyrs, are the crowns of martyrdom, victory, chastity, ministry, giving, sacrificial love and witnessing to Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us to bring us holy and blameless before Him in love.
The Christian martyrdom is a practical proof on the truthfulness of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). Justin Martyr says: “Here you can clearly see that when our heads are cut off and we are crucified, thrown away to the wild beasts, or tied by chains, and put into fire, and suffered all kinds of torture, we do not leave our faith. But as far as we are punished by these tribulations, more Christians are added to the believers in the name of Jesus Christ. The vinedresser cuts vine branches bearing fruit, even to let other branches grow, and this process makes it livelier and more productive. This is what happens with us. The vine implanted by God our Savior, Jesus Christ is His people.”
The Second Coming and Judgment
Longing for the 2nd coming of Christ to judge the living and the dead is a settled part of the Christian Creed. The appearance of the sign of the cross will precede the 2nd coming (Matt24:30). Christ will come on the clouds of heaven and the Archangel, with a great sound of a trumpet, will gather all people for judgment (1Thes4:16). Then all the dead will rise in the flesh (Jhn5:28, 29) who died by different methods (Rev20:11-13) while those who will be alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will all be changed (1Thes4:15-17; 1Cor15:51, 52). Therefore, the resurrection of the body is a must for judgment (Isa26:19; Dan12:2) since man will be judged as one being of body and spirit. In the resurrection, all these bodies will be spiritual not physical (Matt22:30-32) to live eternally either in eternal joy at the kingdom or eternal condemnation at hell… and this will be determent by the general resurrection.
Keeping silent and speaking out In the life of St. Mary
Time of keeping silent and speaking out:
+ The Bible says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven; … A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecc3:1,7). The wise is he who knows when to speak and when to keep silent, who knows to differentiate between the suitable time to talk and the suitable time to be silent, and who is able to control his tongue, and his speech. When he speaks, he is able to select every word to avoid stumbling. Such a man was described in the Bible by St. James saying, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (Jam3:2). Thus, controlling the tongue is the measure of human perfection.
The Fiery Holy Spirit
In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dwelt on the disciples as tongues of fire, representing purification of the heart and inflaming it with divine love.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification and might. (Acts 1:8; Zach. 4:6) He is the fiery Spirit of God as St. Paul mentions, “For our God is a consuming fire,” (Heb. 12:29) and as Isaiah inquires saying, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting fire?” (Is. 33:14)