Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
The Lived Faith
The world has always needed passionate witnesses of God--today more than ever. When many of our contemporaries presently experience a thirst and hunger for spiritual life, it seems important to find an intimate and sound communion of life with the Lord. Certainly, it is urgent to give substance to our spiritual life.
Year after year, the Feast of St. Vartan and his companions reveals to us that only lived faith--and for some, faith lived to the extreme, to martyrdom--can touch human hearts and transform them.
The lived faith of St. Vartan and his companions is a choice. The courageous declaration of the faith of the martyrs of Avarayr, which is reported to us by the historian St. Eghishe, is impressive: “Even if we were immortal, it should still become us to take on death for the love of Christ; it should be meet to do so, for He Himself was immortal but He loved us so much that He accepted even death, in order that by His death we might be saved from eternal death. And if He did not spare His own immortality, we, who became mortal of our own free will, should willingly die for the sake of His love, that He might willingly receive us into His immortality…Do not therefore examine us further after all this, because our covenant of faith is not with a man, that we may be deceived like children, but is an indissoluble covenant with God, from Whom it is impossible to separate us, not now, not later, not forever, and not forever and ever.”
How could St. Vartan and his companions profess such a faith, if they had not been filled with the love of God? I think the author of the Book of Wisdom helps us reflect when he writes, "But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them" (Wisdom 3.1). The lives of St. Vartan and his companions were in the hand of God.
This living faith is not achieved instantly. It is cultivated, shaped, and built over time. It aims day by day to attain the essential: God and his message of love. It gives rise to a courageous commitment, which exceeds anything we can imagine. Such a living faith can become a testimony for all generations.