Franciscan AdJUSTment Focus: Martyrs of the Plague of Alexandria

Paul Keggington

February 22, 2013

On this feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we celebrate the call to serve. Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy offers a February social justice reflection focusing on the Martyrs of the Plague of Alexandria, Egypt.

Imagine the year 261 A.D.  The place is Alexandria, Egypt.  As Christians, we have been forced to hide and conduct our liturgies, prayers and gatherings in secret.  The threat of persecution follows us daily.  Then, like a swiftly moving shadow, the plague envelops Alexandria.  Every household in the thriving city is touched by the virulent tentacles of the disease.  The dead and dying are cast into the streets and the air is filled with the stench of decay and fear.  We Christians find that our faith will not allow us to remain hidden.  Our entire community begins to publicly attend to the needs of the dead and dying.  Some of our members nurse the sick, some wash the bodies of the dead while others attend to the burials.  We are at risk of contracting the disease.  We are in danger of arrest, torture, imprisonment and death.  Yet we lay down our life for these in need.  Our faith demands it.  Such was the witness of the Martyrs of the Plague of Alexandria.  Who is in need of our help our healing, our courage?  What does faith demand of me today?

Consider:  What illnesses of society or of spirit have I encountered today?  Did I meet them with the healing service that rises out of faith?

Pray:  Divine Physician, lead us to be a healing presence wherever we meet suffering.  May our touch, rooted in faith cast out suffering rooted in injustice, we pray…

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