Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRIP (10/18/18)
- TITLE: Compassionate hearts
By Gloria Pierre Dean
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The entertainment of the day was the notoriously barbaric gladiatorial combats. Men were trained to be strong so they could fight other men to the death in open arenas for the entertainment of onlookers in Roman amphitheatres.
The Colosseum was such a place. Its relic remains for tourists to see. It was the largest amphitheatre ever built and it was in the centre of Rome. It was elliptical in shape and had seating tiers that surrounded a central performance area called the arena and was the perfect place for viewing and a great place for echoing sounds.
My story follows a quiet scholarly monk named Telemachus. He had lived all his life in prayer, fasting, seclusion and manual labour. He was an ascetic and lived in the East, possibly Turkey.
One day he felt compelled, it is told, to travel to Rome for a trip. He followed the crowds and went into the Colosseum. For the first time in his life, he saw the ‘abominable spectacle’ of two gladiators fighting to the death. In unbelievable horror, he watched as the gladiators began to sword beat each other. It became obvious to him that death was the only goal.
In the deep silence of the Colosseum, his voice was heard. He uttered these words as he hastened into the central arena.
“In the Name of Christ, forbear!”
He was asking them to stop in the strongest possible language of the day.
The spectators were indignant. Their sport was being disrupted. Many began to throw stones at him.
This innocent holy man, Telemachus continued to issue his cry
“In the name of Christ, forbear!” until his death,
When the emperor heard the story, he determined that he was indeed a martyr. The historian Theodoret writes that “the peacemaker was stoned until he lay dying.
His final pitiful cry was “In the Name of Christ, forbear.”
Because of Telemachus’ action and his death, the Emperor made a decree three days later.
"The Christian Emperor Honorius, however, was impressed by the monk's martyrdom and it spurred him to issue a historic ban on gladiatorial fights."
Telemachus’ life was a preparation for this one holy action that proved to be self-sacrificial. He did more in one historic day, on a well deserved weekend break, than many do in a lifetime.
Look further at Jesus. He took a thirty-three year trip from heaven to earth and did more in those years than any of us will ever do. He was Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man.
His trip included three days of torture and three hours on a Cross. He too was stoned, but he was beaten, scourged and crucified. His sacrifice changed the whole world and brought hope to fallen men of all nations; both Jew and Gentile.
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Romans 10: 10-13].
Both Telemachus’ and Jesus' stories focus on one man taking a trip and doing great good; compassionate hearts that changed their world!
A true story.
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