|Icon of St. Nektarios from Wikimedia Commons|
Do you fight back? Do you gossip about them - telling others what they've done? Do you seek revenge? Do you hate them? Do you fall into despair?
Now, let's imagine that the people who do these horrible things are Christians. Not only Christians, but people you look up to in your Faith community.
Do you leave the Church? Do you feel betrayed by God? Do you stumble in your faith? Do you reject God & His Church?
This sort of thing is probably the #1 reason that I have seen people leave the Faith.
But, today's Saint - Saint Nektarios - took a different path.
He accepted the mistreatment. He simply accepted the slander, the loss of job & position, the lack of food, the exclusion. He didn't fight back. He didn't gossip about his abusers. He didn't seek revenge. And, most importantly, he remained Faithful to God. This was his Cross to bear in his life, and he bore it heroically. He chose not to hate, but to love. He chose not to reject suffering as something to be avoided at all costs, but to obediently endure it for God.
Despite the cruelty of other Christians, he Loved & Served God. He gave alms to the poor. He accepted any position he could get serving God - even those positions that were much "beneath him." He was a Bishop - yet because of the sins of others, he had to accept a part time job preaching - not even a full time position!
In the course of his life, he acted as Headmaster of a Seminary, and eventually founded a Monastery. But, he was always hounded by those who hated him.
At the end of his life, he suffered bravely and devoutly with physical illness, while others were being miraculously healed of their illnesses through his prayers. (He is the Patron Saint for those suffering from Cancer.) Again, others might have been angry at God when they saw others healed, but while they remained ill and in severe pain themselves, but St. Nektarios was Faithful & filled with Love.
It is quite likely that during his lifetime few, if any, recognized that they were in the presence of a Saint.
When St. Nektarios died of his illness, his body was washed, as was customary. When his undershirt was removed for the washing of the body, it was tossed on a neighboring bed - where there lay a paralyzed man. The paralyzed man was instantly healed! I suspect that the moment this happened was the first inkling most had that Bishop Nektarios was a Saint.
In the course of time, his relics remained incorrupt (his body did not decay) and gave off the odor of sanctity (instead of smelling like a dead body - his body smelled like Myrrh).
Many people came to his tomb to request his prayers for their healing - and many were healed - so many that an entire book was written (unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, it is only available in Greek) just about these occurrences. My Father-in-Law was one of those people healed by the prayers of St. Nektarios.
Today is the day we remember St. Nektarios - an amazing, modern Saint. If you'd like to know more, I highly recommend Saint Nektarios, The Saint of Our Century. It's a compelling read- almost like a novel - and very uplifting.
And, the next time you are mistreated by a Christian, remember that all the things we suffer in this life- whether physical, emotional, or Spiritual - has the potential to either draw us closer to God - or further from Him - and let us pray for God's help to imitate the Love & Faithfulness of St. Nektarios.
This is being shared on Making Your Home Sing Monday, Modest Monday, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Teaching What is Good, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Rosevine Cottage Girls, Wise Woman, Encourage One Another, Thrive @ Home Thursday