Marked For Christ

20140817-162617.jpg

Monograms. They’re everywhere you look these days: on tee shirts and tote bags, on water bottles and baby clothes and the back windshields of cars and trucks. Pinterest and etsy are full of ideas and items that are personalized with your initials. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problems with monogramming anything that will sit still for it. After all, I’m from the South where we’re practically born monogrammed. Everything is fair game. Here in Georgia, if there’s anything we ladies love better than the sound of our voices, it’s the sight of our own initials. It marks things as belonging to us and only us. It’s our sign.

But not all letters and signs are just for show. Right now in Iraq the homes of Christians are being marked with the Arabic version of the letter “N” which stands for “Nazarene.” It means that the family living there belongs to Jesus of Nazareth. It’s a kind of monogram that sets the Christians of Iraq, who are mostly Catholic, apart from other religions and the Muslim majority. Now that ISIS is in charge in many places in Iraq, being marked as a Christian also means being marked for death unless you’re willing to convert to Islam. The video and photographs coming out of Iraq are horrifying. Children are beheaded while their parents are forced to watch. Mothers and fathers have their throats slashed in front of their toddlers. It’s absolutely inhuman and heartbreaking. During the Holocaust, Jews were made to wear a Star of David on their sleeves by the Nazis. Then millions of them were rounded up and transported to the death camps where they were tattooed with their prison number on their forearms before being murdered for their faith. St. Maximilian Kolbe was killed in Auschwitz (Prisoner #16670) when he gave his life in exchange for another prisoner. Grace in the midst of hell.

The Iraqi Christians and Fr. Kolbe were marked in another way, as well. They were baptized with water and with the Sign of the Cross. This “monogram” is invisible to human eyes, but baptism marks every Christian with an indelible sign of belonging to Jesus Christ. In baptism, Christ claims us as a member of His family and an heir of His inheritance. Sometimes we may forget that this inheritance also marks us for suffering in this world. Belonging to Christ also includes belonging to His Holy Cross. This Cross is being carried today by Christians all over the world who are suffering and dying because they belong to “The Nazarene.” In Iraq and Egypt, in Nigeria and China, in Somalia and India and in dozens of other countries, Christians face persecution, imprisonment and death (www.worldwatchlist.us/) Our faith can cost us our earthly lives, which is something those of us living in a free country sometimes forget.

When we wear that monogrammed necklace or tee shirt, it proclaims us as individuals. In effect, you’re wearing who you are. If you wear a crucifix or a cross around your neck, it proclaims that your life was purchased at a great price. It should change the way you live in the world, just as the grace of your baptism does. We are the precious and blood-bought children of a great and loving God, Who weeps to see His children suffering.

If you want to do something to help, the Knights of Columbus is a charitable organization of Catholic men who are actively providing support to the persecuted Christians in Iraq. In fact, the Knights will match your donations, dollar for dollar. Your gifts are tax-deductible and the Knights pledge that 100% of the money they receive will go to refugee relief in Iraq and the surrounding region. You can trust this charity. As Christians who share the same “monogram” with our faith family in Iraq, we are called by Christ to help them. Please consider a gift to the Knights at http://www.KofC.org/Iraq or K of C Christian Refugee Relief, Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966.

“For an immediate end to the violence and destruction of life in Iraq, especially as it is directed to native Christians, that these evils will be defeated by efforts for peace and justice. Let us pray to The Lord.
—Lord, hear our prayer.”

20140817-162650.jpg

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. annonces coquine gratuite
    Sep 28, 2014 @ 21:39:26

    Hola! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: