Hello Everyone, I hope this week finds you well.
When I was a child, I often wondered how the early Christian martyrs had the strength to endure their suffering, tortures and death. I’ve wondered often in the years since if I would have the strength to stand before my persecutors and offer my life versus denying my Lord. In her audio talk To Hell and Back : Divine Love and the Cross from the Augustine Institute (https://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/to-hell-and-back-divine-love-and-the-cross-1), Anne Marie Schmidt describes one very powerful, but terrifying moment when as a younger girl, her village was overtaken by Nazi soldiers. Her friends, family and fellow villagers were called to stand in a line, deny Christ and accept Communism and for that they could live; if not, they would be shot. None of the villagers accepted evil in the days to follow and many died.
I recall a priest and friend once sharing with me that God does not want intentional martyrs. Take St. Francis of Assisi as an example. He wanted to be a war hero and ultimately a martyr for Jesus, but the Lord had other plans for him and the same was true for St. Ignatius of Loyola. They sought the grandiose when God was calling them to a manner of living – daily for him. So do I believe God calls us to this living and in being so, we can be living martyrs. As we live our ongoing conversions, we strip away those things that separate us from God and it is often painfully done – all true healing and conversion comes through the Cross. Let us die to ourselves, die to these things which pull us away from God and in doing so, practice daily martyrdom on our pathway to holiness and sainthood.
God Love You,