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 “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

Hebrews 11:35



Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)


WE have heard the story of our brother Saber who was severely tortured to give up his faith, but was not at all frightened nor did he renege his belief, bearing without a quiver fearful suffering and terrible tribulations that would make any man falter. Saber was one of a succession of those who were tormented and did not accept release, but his attention was on He who had borne humiliation, derision and the cross before everyone and did not renounce. What can we say? Is it will-power? Impossible. Or is it heroism? Surely not. Or is it a disability that kept him from denying and gaining rest, glory, and heroism? A thousand times no! What then is the fantastic mystical power that makes martyrdom a kind of acceptance of death for the sake of salvation? But what can we say about the devil’s power that prepares for the faithful all kinds of pain and infernal tortures? At this point there appears the Bible’s words that Christ conquered the enemy and all his helpers on the cross1 sending him to the places of shame and scorn, lowering him from the rank of distinction he had gained on the sly, so as to test believers who had gained the victory of the cross and a power greater than that of the devil and all his hosts.

We thus see that Christ on the cross released a Divine power that believers gain and with which they belittle the agonies of the cross and the pains of tormentors. The power that believers of the same class of Saber own is a silent witness of that which Christ had of Divine power over all those who denied the words of truth. This power is accomplished by all the saints everywhere so that they are the scented perfume of God that invigorates the faithful leading them to the way of martyrdom with an insurmountable power that shames the enemy and all his aides.

Every suffering the believers in Christ face in this age is in itself a mystic resurrection the sufferers undergo, till it is revealed through the appearance of Christ. All the sufferings of believers are reckoned a witness to the cross of Christ and bear within them the mystery of the future resurrection to be. Here it is right to say the words of the Bible: “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”2 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”3

What we would like to say is that if we here bear pain and distress with the patience and joy of saints, they contain within them the share preserved for us, not as if it were to come later but is present and working in the spirit, invigorating us with the spirit of resurrection for us to disregard the shame of this world and boast about the hope in the glory of God.

In brief, the hardship of present times with its persecution, suffering, disease and the injustice of those in charge of us is the true wealth that we preserve through patience until His revelation in blessed times. Not only so but we say that the kinds of suffering we undergo in our lives here is a kind of joy that overflowed from Christ while crucified for us. As the Bible says: “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”4 This is the joyful and comforting side in Christ’s crucifixion, as the Bible says that the Lord’s chastisement through suffering is “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”5 “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”6

22 June, 2005

1 Col 2:14, 15.

2 Rom 8:17.

3 2Cor 4:17.

4 Heb 12:2.

5 Heb 12:10.

6 Rom 8:17.


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