Fr Luke Sidarous – Vespers Feast of St Mina – Nov 24, 2019Otis Rodgers December 5, 2019 0 COMMENTS
As we celebrate… the great martyr, St. Mina the Wonder-worker We ask “what has changed?” The world is the world. And the ruler of the world, Satan is the same. And people are people. And from the first days of the entry of Christians into the world, with their faith in Christ… the war happened between light and darkness. So then the event long ago, that happened in the first Christian centuries and to this day is the same. Can light and darkness reconcile? No. Or are the Children of God going to reconcile with the world? No, they won’t. So the war is ongoing. It exists. I came across a book about Christian martyrs in the 20th century. They collected the countries and events that happened in the persecution of Christians and martyrdom; death. And they concluded that Christian martyrs in the 20th century alone, were more than the martyrs to Christ in the previous 19 centuries. I was amazed. How? They say that the world has become advanced and civilized and human rights… How? Nothing changed. The Armenians were persecuted, 2 million of them were killed by the Muslims in Turkey And Christians were persecuted in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. in 1914 and millions of them were killed and hundreds of thousands of monks And priests and bishops. And then I saw it in China, in Japan, and in Bangladesh. And in South Africa and Asia Everywhere! That’s why I saw, these Christians must understand very well. What changed? Nothing changed! If we are truly Christians, then we are in a state of war against the spirit of darkness and witness to the world. but if we change our character, our colors, and our spirit then the war isn’t there. So for example, one… like St. Mina. He fought the powers of darkness. A young man. The wars are split in two directions. The first direction, is enticement. They’ll say “Why would you fight? listen to this… you are young and I will give you whatever you want.” “Desire… and ask for whatever you want lets not go to war.” That’s the first part of the war. The second part; “If you don’t submit to me… I’ll kill you.” “I will torture you. I will cut up your flesh.” So there was the war and Satan would always start with the easier one. And of course, many were lost. Because if you remember today’s gospel, about the plating of the Kingdom of God and the good plants. And Christ said about the soil with the thorns that these are the cares of the world; what are the thorns Lord? The cares of the world. And the arrogance of wealth. and the desire of all things. What do these do to a Christian person? They choke the Kingdom. They choke the word. The Bible becomes fruitless and non-existent. These desires? Yes, of course! What are St. Mina, St. George, St. Mercurius? What are those? These defeated the desires. But these are young men. Well what is the secret of strength? Long ago, Makram Ebeid said a quote that the elders learned; it said: He who desires, expires. Any desire. Anything that one desires to take and wants to take. You have the matters of the world; its glory and its riches and it’s perishables and outings and desires of the flesh and all these things we know. What is far worse… is for one to desire position the priesthood they just want to be seen. They want to be glorified What is this? This is mortal desire! Pope Kyrollos, friend and beloved of St. Mina On the day that God chose him to become Pope of the See, He began to weep like children and he would say “I would have preferred to die unknown.” “I don’t want anyone to know me.” “I don’t want anyone to glorify or honor me.” In the beginning of his monastic life, He craved the life of an anchorite and live in a cave. And he sent to the Patriarch to ask permission, as is the policy of the church. And the pope permitted him to… see the fathers of the monastery and then go find a cave to live in. really, he did this. He had a brother in Alexandria, Who was older than him. He sent him a letter. He asked “what do you think you are?” I read this letter with my eyes. He said “What do you think you are?” “What do you want to be? What recluse do you want? And what will people say? Do you want people to glorify you?” “Do you think that you are like the early fathers? what happened to you? A very strong letter. Full of rebuke and harshness Fr. Mina responded to him who became Pope Kyrollos “Believe me brother, before God none of what you said has ever crossed my mind.” “Not for people to glorify me or for people to know me. None of this; never!” With tears. He told him “When a dog is rabid they exile it!” “So that it doesn’t bite people.” “I didn’t think of recluse as an honor.” This is spirit of the fathers. The spirit of the martyrs. This is the spirit of St. Mina and the saints that we hear of. Desires never entered into their hearts. They considered themselves nothing. They rejected the glory of the world a total rejection. That is why they were able to win. But when someone is defeated by their desire, they are defeated Their head cannot be held high. Defeated! Today was reposed Angel, the wife of Fr. Bishoy Kamel. When she started service In the beginning of 1960 and she went to the church and no one was there. And the girls and the women came to her. And they called her “Tunt” or “Abla” or lady or auntie and she said no call me “Tasony” Which means, call me “my sister” She didn’t think of herself as the priest’s wife… now this title has become… a big meaningless spectacle. Tasony means “my sister.” Not because she wanted any honor. She did it in humility. Not wanting them to say “Tunt” (Madam) “Call me sister!” The curriculum of the fathers is all the same. That a person who follows Christ, denies themselves, carries their cross, and follows Him. When Satan gave up trying to entice them… They were young men, and he would send them girls. He would offer them riches. Money. Palaces. St. Mina’s father was a governor. So he said “I already discarded these things.” He asked Satan, “what are you offering me? I already knew these things and discarded them!” It no longer has a use or desire. He would offer girls to young men and the desires of the flesh. They tied an indecent girl to St. George’s leg. He defeated her. Because the spirit within him was stronger. Of course. I’m telling you. Whoever submits to their self’s desires of any kind is defeated within their self and doesn’t want anyone to push them. He is fallen. When they defeated Satan in this battle he turned around and said “I’ll show you” “Can you handle skewers that are burning in the fire?” “Can you handle the cutting of organs?” Then Satan began to engineer forms of torture. But God strengthened them very much. The first war was worse. War against the flesh and pain and suffering and prisons, trust me, are easier. But when one submits to the spirit of the world from within themselves. They submit themselves to the spirit of the world and of darkness They are defeated. When you read the tortures done to the saints It’s an incredible thing. He engineers every day ways to deceive them. No. These are victorious souls. These are souls united with the resurrection. They don’t fear death. Death doesn’t terrify them or scare them. Were the tortures to the saints real? Of course! And was the physical pain real? Of course! Even though they are kind spirits and holy souls, the torutures were the strongest tortures. But they still defeated them. The Book of Revelation showed them victorious and said: “They defeated him.” What is witness to Christ? To prevail! Without prevailing, no one can enter Heaven. Read the letters to the angels of the seven churches. To each one he says: “To the one who is victorious…” A strong warning If you are not victorious, then you have no share with me. Is this only for the martyrs? No, it’s for all of us. If you are not victorious, In the ocean you are in in the place you are in. With the capabilities that you live with your circumstances, in your family, in your work, in the world If you are not victorious as a Christian… Well who do I defeat? Number 1, defeat my self. The “self” that tortured all of us. Number 1 to defeat my self. Then the whole world will be defeated for me May the intercessions of St. Mina be with us. We feel a great blessing that we have St. Mina as a great support for us in this church. Of course, we feel blessing in the presence of our father. Anba Kyrillos The beloved of Pope Kyrillos and St. Mina and… this is a blessing for us. His Grace will come and bless us and pray the liturgy tomorrow May God grant you blessing And grant us the blessing of St. Mina and his intercessions to be with you. Glory be to God, forever, amen.