20160811_stcallinicus_sqIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Dear beloved, we remember the holy martyr St Callinicus today. May the saint and wonderworker, pray for us.

St Callinicus of Cilicia, was raised as a Christian. He evangelized to many pagans, with the sincere hope of their salvation in God. And for that he was arrested and tortured by the governor Sacerdonus who was persecuting Christians. The saint was beaten with ox thongs, and had his body torn by iron hooks, but the saint kept calm and prayerful. Sacerdonus was enraged at the saint’s peace, and commanded that the saint wore sandals with sharp nails in them, and had the saint whipped the whole journey towards the city of Gangra for burning. The soldiers who accompanied and whipped the saint could not take the ordeal of the journey, and begged the saint to pray to God for water. The saint prayed, and water poured forth from a stone. The soldiers saw the miracle from God through the saint’s prayers, were remorseful, and yet were afraid to disobey the command of the governor. The saint offered his thanks to God, was burned, and gave up his soul to God. His body, which was unharmed, were given to be buried by the faithful.

And it is same with us. How strong are we in defending the Truth of God, embodied in Orthodoxy and the Church? Do we crumble and shy away when we are asked to defend the faith which is our eternal salvation? Or do we stand resolute like Saint Callinicus of Gangra and so many before and after him right up to day?

We are promised of God’s salvation, that we are to battle tooth and nail till we die, with tears and repentance (Psalm 55:16-22). It is not just a fierce battle we fight within ourselves against our own failings and straying from God, but also a lifelong labor of pains till the end (Ruth 2:12-13).

As we reflect on Matthew 16:24-28, we know that our Lord told us specifically and undeniably that we are to deny all that we are, whether wealth, reputation, health, pride, and all else that makes us who we are, and then carry the burden of our own crosses, and then follow Him. It is a clear and non-negotiable instruction from our Lord.

While the world fights irrationally over mundane and useless things that offer no value to salvation in the Lord, we need to remember Apostle Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:28-11:7, that all things belong to God, and God is the final arbiter of all disputes and events, and we are to focus on our own spiritual struggles and journeys towards God. It is not for us to be judgmental.

Labor is arduous. Faith through repentance and prayers is no walk in the park either. And through all arduous and struggling that we do for the single purpose of reaching reconciliation with God, we need to remember that every day is a living martyrdom in Christ, and even till the end, no matter how that end may be, tragic or peaceful, we are to endure for our salvation as long as we abide in Christ our Lord.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”.

Let us close by praying the thanksgiving prayer:

It is truly meet to call thee blest, the Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

O virgin Theotokos, rejoice; O Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Raphael+

Readings:
Ruth 2:12-13
Psalm 55:16-22
Matthew 16:24-28
1 Corinthians 10:28-11:7