[complete article here]
Martyrdom A Real Possibility, Says Pope
Encourages All Christians to a Life of Daily Sacrifice VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- After noting the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs, Benedict XVI affirmed that all Christians should be ready to give their lives for Christ.
The Holy Father said, "...such a great number of martyrs...shows that the supreme witness of giving blood is not an exception reserved only to some individuals, but a realistic possibility for all Christian people." ...fidelity to Christ to the point of giving one's life, is rooted in baptism.
"...martyrdom of ordinary life is a particularly important witness. It is the peaceful battle of love that all Christians, like Paul, have to fight tirelessly; the race to spread the Gospel commits us until death."
In the overall scheme of salvation, as I understand my part, I need to accept the grace and gift of God - His Son, my Lord and Savior - Jesus.
In my post yesterday, I reflected that I lose faith daily. I do not trust enough - I do not hope enough - I do not love enough ... I worry. Worry is a very strong indicator of a lack of faith. Lord, build my faith.
In 'working out' my salvation, in concert with the teaching of the apostle James, faith with out works, that is a manifestation of the faith, is worthless. I sometimes think I have the 'works' part down pat ... its just the faith part in which I fail too often. I once heard it described this way - faith without works is as useless as a screen door on a submarine. I don't know if that image works for you, but it does for some.
Martyrdom may be the call of God on my life - I pray I can accept it ... for without His grace, I could never endure it. The political climate in our world today suggests to me that many of us could be in line to answer that call someday.
There are parts of the world [China] where believing Christians are giving their lives daily. May their blood give glory to God and be a witness to the world.
In 1900, in an uprising against Christians, many were killed. This picture shows a recent service [summer 2007] at a cemetery where there is a mass-grave containing the remains of 222 such martyrs. Faith is alive - bodies die for it everyday - today, not just a hundred years ago.
I recently read a book titled "The Heavenly Man". It is about a man in China who endured every imaginable torture and atrocity [and some not imaginable] - all for his love of Jesus. He is not yet a martyr. He was, at the conclusion of the book, living in Scandinavia, having been smuggled out I believe. This is a current modern day story. I recommend it highly.
Around the world, our Christian brothers and sisters are suffering and shedding their blood, as Jesus shed His. It could arrive in our country sooner than we'd like to believe.
Would you call the victims of the 9/11 events martyrs if they died without assenting to it? The perps were certainly targeting them as Christians, don't you think?