September 17, 2022

Wisdom, Faith, Hope and Love ...

 By Fr. Elias Makos

Wisdom, faith, hope and love are the great provisions of a good and true Christian.

The name of these virtues is shared by four martyrs (the mother and her three young daughters) of our Church, whose memory is honored on September 17.

And in fact the widowed mother, Sophia, did not prevent, but pushed her three young daughters, twelve-year-old Faith, ten-year-old Hope and nine-year-old Agapi, to martyrdom.

Her speech to her daughters was shocking and touching, after the judge's call for her and her children to deny Christ, otherwise terrible torture and death awaited them.

The little girls went to prison and the mother after much prayer visited them.

With a firm and decisive voice she urges them not to be afraid of the sacrifice that God is asking of them! "Be brave in the face of torture! Don't be afraid!"

And those little girls, instead of crying, assured her that they were ready to die for Christ.

Can anyone imagine this scene? Can it be weighed with reason, with human measures?

What spiritual wealth, what flame of soul a mother needs to have, to tell her little ones not to deny the martyrdom.

What a treasure there is in the hearts of the girls, that they with one voice agree with her!

And this treasure of Faith, Hope and Agapi, let's reach out to grab it.

We must not underestimate it, because we will be left with the shadow, with a forgery of the habits of this world.

The mother prays that her daughters will endure to the end and they do not disappoint her.

Faith's body is furrowed with a whip and then burned, until her life is taken with a sword.

Her bloodied body, which so many hardships were inflicted on, is thrown aside and the tortures of Hope begin.

They tore into her flesh, her blood stained the place purple, but her mental resistance was not overcome. She was finally beheaded.

At the time, when the executioner took her head with the sword, she herself was crowned by the Lord.

The youngest, Agapi, proved to be very courageous. Without any fear, she cried out to the executioners, when they were beheading her: "I too am a sprout of the same mother."

In order to avenge the mother, they did not kill her, but rather left her as a punishment to be slowly tyrannized by the pain.

She collected the remains of her daughters and buried them, proud of the upbringing she gave them, and boasting that they did not stray from the will of God.

Although she shed motherly and loving tears, deprived of her daughters, what prevailed was the praise to God for the martyrdom of her daughters.

Praise and tears mingled, and praise triumphantly prevailed.

And after three days, the Lord also received her in his arms.

So great is the power of the faith of these four women that nothing can replace it.

The spiritual world, like any ideal, has sacrifice as its background. This sacrifice is not within the narrow bounds of duty. It stands beyond them. It is a sacrifice of rights.

The three young daughters sacrificed for Christ, with the encouragement of their mother, their inalienable right to live.

Of course, in a world so materialistic that we live in, the sacrifice of rights is an unknown concept, while as a rule everything is sacrificed for dominance.

From three little girls and their mother we learn that the sacrifice of rights, which is the fruit of love for Christ, is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Great is therefore the honor of those who are numbered in this blessed category of fighters for Christian ideals.

The first step is respect for Christian ideals. And the last step is the sacrifice of rights for Christian ideals.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.