Friday, July 02, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities - A List of Present Day Martyrs

    Daniel Pearl

It is an unfortunate truth that there are more Christians and Jews being martyred in this era than any other era in history. 

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens provides a vivid account of life in Paris and a small French town called Saint Anoine during the French revolution, an era when French people rose up against their oppresors, yet succumed to the evil one. 

Surprisingly this period of time has aspects of life in some parts of todays world.

Dickens writes:
The new era began; the king was tried, doomed, and beheaded; the Republic of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death, declared for victory or death against the world in arms; the black flag waved night and day from the great towers of Notre Dame; three hundred thousand men, summoned to rise against the tyrants of the earth, rose from all the varying soils of France, as if the dragon's teeth had been sown broadcast, and had yielded fruit equally on hill and plain, on rock, in gravel, and alluvial mud, under the bright sky of the South and under the clouds of the North, in fell and forest, in the vineyards and the olive-grounds and among the cropped grass and the stubble of the corn, along the fruitful banks of the broad rivers, and in the sand of the sea-shore.

Members of a Christian Bible Study in Turkey Slaughtered April 18, 2007
What private solicitude could rear itself against the deluge of the Year One of Liberty- the deluge rising from below, not falling from above, and with the windows of Heaven shut, not opened!

Orthodox Priest Daniel Alekseevich Sysoev

There was no pause, no pity, no peace, no interval of relenting rest, no measurement of time. Though days and nights circled as regularly as when time was young, and the evening and morning were the first day, other count of time there was none. Hold of it was lost in the raging fever of a nation, as it is in the fever of one patient. Now, breaking the unnatural silence of a whole city, the executioner showed the people the head of the king- and now, it seemed almost in the same breath, the bead of his fair wife which had had eight weary months of imprisoned widowhood and misery, to turn it grey.

Sister Dorothy Stang S.N.D
And yet, observing the strange law of contradiction which obtains in all such cases, the time was long, while it flamed by so fast. A revolutionary tribunal in the capital, and forty or fifty thousand revolutionary committees all over the land; a law of the Suspected, which struck away all security for liberty or life, and delivered over any good and innocent person to any bad and guilty one; prisons gorged with people who had committed no offence, and could obtain no bearing; these things became the established order and nature of appointed things, and seemed to be ancient usage before they were many weeks old. Above all, one hideous figure grew as familiar as if it had been before the general gaze from the foundations of the world- the figure of the sharp female called La Guillotine.

      The Holocaust
It was the popular theme for jests; it was the best cure for headache, it infallibly prevented the hair from turning grey, it imparted a peculiar delicacy to the complexion, it was the National Razor which shaved close: who kissed La Guillotine, looked through the little window and sneezed into the sack.
It was the sign of the regeneration of the human race. It superseded the Cross. Models of it were worn on breasts from which the Cross was discarded, and it was bowed down to and believed in where the Cross was denied.

It sheared off heads so many, that it, and the ground it most polluted, were a rotten red. It was taken to pieces, like a toy-puzzle for a young Devil, and was put together again when the occasion wanted it. It hushed the eloquent, struck down the powerful, abolished the beautiful and good. Twenty-two friends of high public mark, twenty-one living, and one dead, it had lopped the heads off, in one morning, in as many minutes. The name of the strong man of Old Scripture had descended to the chief functionary who worked it; but so armed, he was stronger than his namesake, and blinder, and tore away the gates of God's own Temple every day.

Bishop Luigi Padovese
As I read this section of the book it occurred to me both the Cross and the guillotine are devices of execution. This has always puzzled me. 

My Catholic friends hold up a cross with the crucified Jesus on it as a reminder of the Crucifixtion.  My Protestant friends hold up an empty cross as a sign of the resurrection.  I had wondered years ago, what if Jesus was put to death in the electric chair, would we wear pendants of electric chairs around or necks and large replicas of electric chairs on our Church walls?

Father Rageed Azziz Ganni

Thanks be to The Lord our God that He is God and I am just plain ol' Marc, because He knows what is best.  If He wants the cross to be a symbol of rememberance than so be it.

The people of the French Revolution certainly had reason to overthrow tyranical rule that they lived under, but to throw away God in favor of man's rule is beyond the pale.  However this is going on today in many foreign lands where brothers are executing brothers and Christians are considered to be infidels.  May God have mercy on us all.