I started 3 years ago as a volunteer in Aid to the Church in Need (AIN). I didn’t know anything about AIN, not even the name. I was unaware that there were Christians who could not go to Mass quietly, but risked their lives, they could kidnap their daughter on the way to Mass … or even die for their faith.
The first thing I felt when I met him was to be the Church, to feel part of it, that I was really a sister to all those who were dying for their faith. So I called them and asked them, do you need anything? Because I want to help, my brothers are there dying.
Being a teacher I could help them by giving talks in churches, in parishes, in schools … but first I had to train and learn about reality through testimonies such as that of Sister Guadalupe, who is a religious who he lived in Aleppo, in Syria, a city especially punished. There I realized the reality, what was happening in the world today and that caused me a lot of anguish.
Every time I finished a talk I felt very anguished, at night I woke up, and I would think of the sex slave girls and I would pray; “ look Lord, I want to collaborate in this work, but I think maybe it is not my site, it affects me too much, I lose peace and hope.”
One day praying with a group of mothers in a church I opened the Bible to pray. On the page I opened, there was just a bold subtitle that said “ Providence in Persecution “. And I thought … “ Providence? ” What I was coming to say is that God allows persecution because he is giving us touches, so that we do not get lost, because if he waits at the end of our life or waits for the end of time to give us a touch, then we’ve all lost ourselves. This message was for me.
As a volunteer, my involvement in AIN has given me a great “shot” of faith and hope when I learn concrete stories of priests and laity who suffer persecution, who have been kidnapped and how they have lived their faith. And this is a very great example that also helps us a lot too a lot; It is their turn to persecution and it is up to us – as Father Douglas said – to live our faith in depth.
They have had persecution and discrimination all their lives for centuries for many generations. That is why their faith is so strong, and they do not ask themselves “ where is God? ” because they know very well where he is. It is by your side. Our founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, wrote a book “ God cries on earth ” and God cries on earth next to each brother who is crying and they know it perfectly, they feel it by their side . God is present and makes himself seen in suffering because we have, for example, Father Douglas that the chain with which they tied him, since it had ten links and with them he prayed the best rosaries of his life.
God speaks to you at all times, Father Jacques Mourad, explained how in his captivity he sometimes lacked hope or did not understand why and one day an ISIS command entered his cell and told him; “ take this time as a spiritual retreat” . God was speaking to him through an ISIS high command and from then on he took it differently, really as a spiritual retreat.
God always brings good out of evil. I am fully convinced of this. The same book of “ God cries on earth “, Father Werenfried van Straaten, explains how one day in his monastery cell in the middle of world war, he felt in the silence of the night that God was passing the hand – the certainty that during the night God passed his hand – over the world and over the situations to restore, to heal, to heal, to get a good out of all that was shattered and that men were destroying. And it still is today. And that’s why you can be very, very happy in the chase. Because you know that God is there with you.
In the West we cannot understand it, because we give too much importance to being healthy, not having problems, never dying, and in reality we have to put all this down a bit. A woman had been killed her son who was standing guard at the door of a church so that someone with a vest loaded with explosives would not enter and explode himself inside the church. He went to stop a person and that person blew himself up and the boy died. The mother said: “ but what better place to die than the church? ” be aware that nothing happens with death. Martyrdom is really a gift from God, a Grace and God pours out his grace in these situations. But let’s minimize pain and suffering and death because the important thing is eternal life. And since they have it in their identity, they would not renounce anything; rather than losing Christ they lose everything else. They are so clear about it …
Let us pray for our persecuted brothers and strengthen our faith to bear witness to Christ and here by our side.
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