January 12, 2024

The Christian Minority

By Protopresbyter Themistokles Mourtzanos

Today, perhaps more than ever in recent years, Christians feel like a minority in society. The characterization is not necessarily numerically correct. Certainly it is in regard to the noise made against the faith. Although we Christians were always the "little leaven", however in the Greek reality we did not have the feeling that our position was without value for the many.

We certainly do not live in a state of persecution today. There is, although many people dispute it, a period of democracy and freedom, when any ideas, opinions and positions on life are free to manifest. We are not always ready to make a case for our faith and its content, as well as about the position we take against the challenges of our times. We easily remain in a conservative understanding of life, but at the level of morality, we are not able to explain, first within ourselves, and then to others why we say "yes" and why we say "no" to the choices of the modern spirit. We are not, after all, so imperceptible that our example is shocking. Nor are we so ready to admit our sins and faults that our positions may have honesty.

On the other hand, today irony against faith triumphs. Caricatures of believers and phenomena inexplicable even to the well-intentioned are overemphasized, while the practices of ecclesiastical life, such as fasting, prayer, church attendance, participation in repentance, temperance, following a moderate life, respect for values and institutions, the denial of sin and dishonor, the decision that everything in life is not rights, but a struggle of love, make faith a subject of ridicule.

The life of faith today is a small martyrdom. We struggle with thoughts of loneliness and despair. We feel unsupported and that we must isolate ourselves if we want another meaning in life. It is not easy for us to experience faith as joy because we succumb to the temptation of comparison and feel defeated in the conflict. We also lack the training to fight. We lack the knowledge of the history of Christianity, as well as the determination to see where we Christians are wrong, not in Who we believe in, but in how we live.

Our big negative is that we forget Christ. He had predicted to us that He is sending us "as sheep in the midst of wolves." Among the wolves of ideas, denial, noise, glorification of sin, we are called to pray, to love, to discuss. Life is not a game of winning or losing. Winners are those who guard Thermopylae. They are those who keep themselves unscathed from a compromise with evil, while not hating people. Winners are those who do not despair. Christ will remain a scandal and foolish. So will those of us who follow Him. We are a minority because we truly love and speak the truth. And this truth, which is a Person, Christ, and not an idea, liberates. The Gospel shows us the way in which we can take a position in the times. And we are not alone. The Christ of the Church is present in our lives. He asks of us first the testimony of hope. And He will give us the strength to have and to give a reason for it.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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