One day a lady walked into my Catholic Store. She said to me, “I need a holy picture to hang in my room so that people can know I am a Christian”. She lived in Sokoto; a State in the core north of Nigeria dominated by Muslims.

There are places on this earth where living as a Christian is dangerous. Northern Nigeria is one of those. For people like this lady, being Christian means much more than dressing nicely to Church. It’s a daily witness, it’s taking a stand for Jesus. Worse still, it even means putting your life on the line.

Rand Mitri who lives in Aleppo, Syria puts it succinctly well when she said at the World Youth Day in Poland two years ago, “Every day we live our lives surrounded by death. But like you, we close our doors behind us each morning as we leave for work or school. It is at that moment we are gripped by fear that we will not return to find our homes and our families as we left them. Perhaps we will be killed that day. Or perhaps our families will.”

But would this be a deterrent? No! The evil of violence cannot silence the eloquence of a daring faith.

That is why Rand Mitri says again “Through my life experience, I have learned that my faith in Christ supersedes the circumstances of life. My faith in Christ is the reason for my joy and hope. “

“We never denied the cross. we all prayed and kept our faith. Some of us have tattoos so that nobody, not even ISIS, when they capture us, has any doubt about who we follow and to whom we are faithful”. , said one of the Refugees in Erbil, Iraq.

in his homily at Mass on May 6, 2014, in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis says, “we are not a religion of ideas, of pure theology, of beautiful things and commandments. No! We are a people who follow Jesus Christ and give witness. The Church becomes sterile when it closes up inside itself to be a school of religion with lots of beautiful ideas, with many temples and many gorgeous things.”

You may not live at the centre of war where you have to daily take a stand for your faith. But sometimes life poses its own challenges, moments when we have to stand up in our witness and tell the world who we are and what we believe in. It may mean staying true to our Christian values when all around us points the other way. At such times, do we shy away when we have to make our faith known? Are we proud to showcase Jesus to others especially when it’s not favourable?

We can learn from the stories of our persecuted brothers and sisters. Every day of their life, they are faced with a choice. To take the “safer” option and give up their faith or to stand with the Lord no matter the cost.  And they chose Jesus!


Grace Attu

Communications Officer