the blessing and the curse…

Triumph of Faith~Christian Martyrs (artist unknown)

Reflection from The Prologue of Ohrid

Moses spoke to the sons of Israel: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life… that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). There are some decisive moments in the life of men when, indeed, it is left up to man to choose between life or death. Judas, in a decisive moment, was corrupted by silver and he chose death, i.e., the sin of avarice [greed]. When the general wanted to elevate Marinus the soldier (August 7) to the rank of an officer (centurion), envious men accused him of being a Christian. The general permitted him only three hours to contemplate and to choose between life or death, i.e., either to deny Christ or to die. Marinus, hearing the words of his superior, went to the local bishop, Theotechnus, and asked him for advice. The bishop led Marinus into the church, stood him before the Gospel and pointing his hand, at first to the Gospel and after that to the sword which hung from Marinus’ waist, said to him: “Choose courageous man, one of these two; either to wear the sword and serve the earthly king temporarily and, after death, be lost eternally or to become a soldier of the Heavenly King and lay down your life for His Holy Name which is written in this Book and to reign with Him in eternal life.” Marinus immediately decided, kissed the Book of the Holy Gospel and departed through death into life eternal.

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