“Suppose that by revenge you might destroy one enemy; yet, by exercising the Christian’s temper you might conquer three- your own lust, Satan’s temptation, and the enemy’s heart” – John Flavel
The father of lies can tempt us, cause us pain, provoke a torment of the mind and heart, it can initiate the doubt of a saint and the consideration of a hardened heart for evil plots. But the worst Satan can do is kill us! The only thing this brings about is our entrance into eternal life.
Consider what we see in the middle east. Syria, Egypt, Aleppo and many other surrounding areas. How the enemy torments! He exiles the innocent! Inflicts the heart of the persecutors with evil thoughts and actions! “Remember in your prayers the Church of Syria, which now has God for its shepherd, instead of me” -St. Ignatius of Antioch (107 A.D.).
Passion Sunday, or Palm Sunday as many are familiar with, is the commencement of Holy Week. The initiation of a time that highlights the story of hope, the story of salvation, the strength of Syrians. Christ, freely embraced the painful fate of many Christians in the land of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Entering Jerusalem he embraced the praise and acclamations of love and just as quickly he was greeted by religious condemnation. How can these syrian men, women, and children who have been, and are being tormented, reach out to Jesus with hope, while their families are being consumed by hate and death?
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am you may also be” (John 14:3).
Jesus was condemned by those who were of “faith” those who used the words of truth to justify the crucifixion of Truth himself. The Middle East, now, in our present time, in our midst, at this very moment has fallen victim to the same sting of hypocrisy. They have now entered into the heart of Christ’s passion. Truly, they are united with Jesus in his pain. They have stepped into the very heart of Christ. The crown of thorn is theirs but the victory awaits.
Let us remember Syria during this holy week! The purification of the heart, of the mind, of the soul depends on the descent into the inflicting depths of painful sorrow but is accomplished by the victory over death.