Saturday, December 21, 2013

Met. Ephrem Kyriakos' Eulogy for Costi Bendaly

Arabic original here.

Who can talk about the life of this man?

Who can talk about Costi Bendaly?

This pedagogue in the fullest sense of the word, this teacher, indeed, this father. Many talk about the royal priesthood but few live it. He was a priest par excellence. Why? Because he was sincere. His faith was his life. He prayed, he researched, he combined heart and mind. He spoke about children because he sympathized with them. He talked about the youth because he lived among them. But how did he know all this? How was he able to produce this enormous legacy that he left?

I will tell you how: He received God's abundant graces because he acquired the virtue of humility.

All bear witness to how he behaved during the Civil War and know how he was eager to remain in his country in difficult times. Many know how he would do pastoral work in his parish. He is the one who established the program for contributions in the parish. He is the one who encouraged evening activities and Bible study meetings. He was faithful to his Lord until the end, focused on study, focused on action, striving among his people.

Where are those who call for coexistence? Take this man as a model. Follow his example in the practice of true dogma. Take up his approach as the way to save the nation.

The Book of Hebrews talks about true faith among the prophets, saints and martyrs. It says of Moses:

"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward." (Hebrews 11:24-26)

Yes, this man, a doctor in pedagogy and psychology, could have gone to Europe and America and taken the highest positions. He could have acquired riches and abundant possessions. But he preferred to live poor and humble among his people. He preferred to bear his reproach-- that is, bear his cross, as the Fathers explain it. Everything he did in silence. He avoided banquets. He refused celebrations in his honor or even symposia. Look at his many books. Listen to his sayings. In gatherings, he preferred to hear others' opinions before expressing his own opinion. He preferred to hear the voice of others because he longed for God's voice. Indeed, he longed for obedience to His holy words. He loved to participate with others. He loved others more than himself and he avoided the love of appearances.

Beloved, hear. People, look and perceive how much we were nourished by this man who departed from us in the Christmas season, the season of Christ's coming in the flesh with crushing humility. Where are you going now Costi? Are you meeting the beloved Metropolitan Boulos? Are you meeting the ascetic Marcel? Are you meeting all those beloved brothers, great and small, departed loyal members of the Youth Movement, with whom you fought the good fight all your life?

Well done, in everything you did, in everything you lived. You who were faithful to the Lord Jesus with a sincere faith, embodied in a worthy life. Enjoy now the joy of paradise, indeed, the joy of the kingdom.

You were faithful with little, so the Lord will raise you up over much. Enter into the joy of your Lord. Amen.

No comments: