The Christians who remain in Iraq, despite the continuing threats under the rule of the Islamic State have proven the fidelity to the Lord Jesus and have earned our deep respect. In many ways, their fidelity in the face of such overwhelming danger calls us to an examination of conscience concerning our own fidelity to the Lord. Do we consider ourselves as nothing more than "unprofitable servants"? Have we simple "done what we were obliged to do" (Luke 17:10)?
They have remained faithful because of the promise of the Lord the Church proclaims today: "Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself" (Wisdom 3:5). Even as they hold fast to this promise, they await the fulfillment of the words of King David, that "when the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them" (Psalm 34:17).
The sufferings of our brothers and sisters are already severe enough, yet they are about to become even more severe, as Aid to the Church in Needed reported today:
Iraq's beleaguered Christian community is opposing a new law forcing children from minority faiths to become Muslims if their father converts to Islam or their mother marries a Muslim.In a statement sent to Aid to the Church in Need, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako described the new law as “unacceptable”.The head of the Chaldean Church wrote: “The vote of the deputies of the Iraqis, which was held October 27th, 2015, in favour of the National Charter has generated great resentment among Christians and other non-Muslim minorities.“It obliges children under 18 to automatically embrace the Muslim religion, if even only one parent decides to convert to Islam (Art. 26.2).“Leaving aside the fact that a parent betrays his bond with his children, it is unacceptable that this implies that the second party is deprived of the opportunity to fulfil the promise made and keep their religious faith” [more].
Spurred by the example of the Iraqi Christians, let us strengthen our prayers for them by an increase of fasting and generous donations to charities seeking directly to alleviate their physical needs, especially Aid to the Church in Need.