13 November: Invitation to meet our three martyrs with a vision of faith


“If you do not become like owls… Owls and screech owls are pleasant to look at. Observe their enormous eyes, eyes that resemble those of icons! Long before me, these eyes literally fascinated those of the Byzantine rite. For them, they were like the eyes of Christ Pantocrator, those of the Virgin, of the angels and the saints. Insult, sacrilege? Come on…

Don’t you see, you the wise, don’t you see, oh you who are asleep with your eyes still firmly shut, men and women with small, narrow and half-closed eyes, that God made the eyes of owls and screech owls as big as they are so that they can see in the night, when things are what they are and nothing else? To peer into the darkness, you need to have the disproportionate eyes of God himself. Then, the night becomes luminous…

The owls, with their round eyes, persist obstinately peering into the night, the night of things, the night of God.
They are like sentinels who wait patiently perched on their fragile feet until the Other Sun rises.”
This short story helps us understand what it means to look at reality with a vision of faith.
Above all, you must enter into God’s time, which is eternal time.
Past, present, and future are part of men’s time, but in God’s time it is possible to make our time present and also to look at the future that will come.
The feast of our three Bulgarian martyrs is an occasion to learn to look at things from God’s viewpoint. Human vision at times deceives us and prevents us from seeing things as they really are.
It is only from God’s viewpoint that we can peer into the night of our existence and see the light.
Our three martyrs do not remind us of a distant past, but rather the present of our existence, our commitment as brothers, sisters, religious, and laity to the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in us and in the world.
They speak to us of the trials and sufferings that this often holds and they invite us to do like the owls that peer obstinately into the night with their round eyes.
We, brothers and sisters of the Assumptionist community of Plovdiv, want to live the feast of our three Bulgarian martyrs as a time of solidarity and communion with all those in our Assumptionist family who find themselves in the night today, as they are confronted with personal or community ordeals.
In a special way, we pray for our brothers and sisters of the Congo who are once again forced to come face to face with a war that seems to have no end.

In a speech held at Harvard University in the United States in 1978, the Russian writer Solzhenitsyn said: “the constant desire to have still more things and a still better life and the struggle to obtain them imprints many Western faces with worry and even depression, though it is customary to conceal such feelings.… the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor and by intolerable music.

In the Eastern Tradition, the real face of man is that which lets the image of God appear in him. The mask or the face. Our three martyrs had the courage to go against the current to let God’s face be revealed in them.

“One night the turtle decides to take a night stroll. The frog tells it: ”How imprudent to go out at such an hour!” But the turtle continues and takes a longer step than usual, only to find that it has turned on its back. The frog exclaims: ”I told you so! It’s imprudent; you’ll lose your life!” Deliciously, with eyes full of malice, the turtle answers: “I know it. But for the first time I see the stars”. That’s what running around in faith can do.

May an imprudence like that of the turtle permit us to see the stars of God that never cease to shine above our lives!

A happy feast of our three blessed martyrs

The Assumptionist community of Plovdiv