Using Faith to Confront Life’s Troubling Giants

While we are still experiencing social distancing from each other, I come to tell you that you are not distant from your church. Your pastors, rest assured, are praying every day for you and asking Almighty God to keep you in His compassionate hands. 

Personally, all these years, every morning upon waking up, I have gotten into the habit of reciting this morsel of prayer from the service of Compline: “My soul is always in your hands and I place hope in your Holy Cross, O heavenly King.”

I want, especially these days, for this prayer to grow on your lips and inspire you to liberate yourself from fear and anxiety and enter into a world of peace and joy. I come to tell you that you are not alone in your battle if by your genuine faith you have put your life in the hands of your Maker. You are not alone, much as a baby is not alone in the arms of his mother. A baby does not comprehend how his mother can protect him, but he does know by instinct that he is safe in his mother’s hands. Similarly, while we may not comprehend all of God’s ways, we must believe that our lives are secure in His hands. 

Turn your gaze to the Cross, that instrument of death and humiliation which was transformed through Jesus’ blood to be an instrument of immortality and triumph. Stare at the Cross, and stand steady where you are. Stand with faith and conviction and rest assured that our Lord will always lead His followers to a peaceful destination.

I totally understand that it is very depressing to hear all these bad reports about coronavirus and the loss of many lives. Of course, you feel depressed because it is an unprecedented situation and its danger is out of proportion. The virus, like a legendary giant, is walking in our neighborhoods and, with every step, crushing many precious lives. 

Gianlorenzo Bernini, David, 1623, marble, 5 feet, 7 inches high, Galleria Borghese, Rome (Photo: Mateus Campos Felipe/Unsplash)

It reminds us of another giant in the Bible by the name of Goliath—the Philistine who was struck dead by the sling shot of a young boy named David. There is an interesting moment in this story, and I want you to contemplate it. When Goliath notices David challenging him with his sling, he boasts and intimidates him, saying that he will cut him into pieces and feed him to birds. David responds, saying these most inspiring words: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts.” (1 Samuel 17:47) And after saying this he takes a stone from his bag and slings it and kills the giant, who falls on his face with all his armor and might. 

Yes, dear faithful, always confront your life’s difficulties and all kinds of giants threatening your lives including coronavirus “in the name of the Lord.” Let your faith be your sling and your prayers the stone, and rest assured that the stone slung from this sling will topple any giant threatening your lives.

Therefore, once again, let us with faith join the spiritual giant of the Armenian nation, namely St. Gregory of Nareg, and glorify the Lord with these words and say:

“Blessed are you Lord, for yours is salvation, and from you is redemption, and by your right hand is restoration, and your finger is fortification. Your command is justification. Your mercy is liberation. Your countenance is illumination. Your face is exultation. Your spirit is benefaction. Your anointing oil is consolation. A dew drop of your grace is exhilaration. You give comfort. You make us forget despair. You lift away the gloom of grief. You change the sighs of our heart into laughter. To you is fitting blessing with praise in heaven and on earth from our forefathers and unto all their generations forever and ever.
Amen.” (Nareg 9:C)

Fr. Nerses Manoogian

Fr. Nerses Manoogian

Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, (baptismal name Haroutiun) was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He is a graduate of the Armenian Theological Seminary of the Catholicossate of Antelias, Lebanon. In 1974, he married Nektar Megerdichian; they have two children. In 1981, he was invited by the Prelate of Eastern Prelacy, His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, to serve the Detroit community as the Armenian Studies Program Director in the ARS Day School. He was ordained a priest on February 22, 1987 and was assigned to St. Gregory Church parish in Granite City, Illinois. In 1991, he received his Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from St. Louis University. He was ultimately assigned to St. Gregory Church of Philadelphia.
Fr. Nerses Manoogian

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