[I]t is also possible that the zeal of the would-be martyr flows not from an active love, but from a self-centered passivity. While it is certainly good and noble to be willing to give one’s life for the Holy Catholic Faith, we cannot lose sight of the fact that martyrdom is a gift from God that is born of profound charity. It is a specific and glorious sharing in the life of Christ. But Christ died out of love as the fulfillment of an active public ministry. We do well to remember that verse from Revelation we pray so often at Vespers: “love for life did not deter them from death” (Rev 12:1). The verse does not read: “well, their lives were mediocre anyway, and losing them wasn’t that big of a deal.” Martyrdom is the crown of a life lived with ardent love for God and the people of God.The glory of God, as St. Irenaeus of Lyon pointed out during the Age of Martyrs, is not necessarily in man dying for the faith, rather the glory of God is man "fully alive," as that great saint put it. The times and the seasons may present us with the opportunity to be faithful through an early and violent death at the hands of those who despise the faith, but Christians should instead pray that God may set upon them the grace to meet the challenge of being "fully alive" through a long and fruitful life of peace, where believers live the Gospel in the great and little moments of common life.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Christians should seek not martyrdom but the hard task of living their faith
That's the message behind this post, send along to me by former blogger extraordinaire Tertium Quid, over at the Domincana Blog: Life and Martyrdom. As the author of the post notes in commenting on what appears to be an expectation of martyrdom by many younger serious Catholics, there can be a problem with trying to cultivate martyrdom: