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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Martyrdom and Perfection

Choosing martyrdom, when one must, is the short-cut, albeit horribly painful, to perfection.

One says "yes" to God and His Church in and through intense suffering.

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on this and I write this as we are now involved in the Last Age of the Marytrs.


St. John writes in his First Epistle: "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (11)

The victory of heroic faith appears even in the Old Testament, as St. Paul says: "By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered Isaac. . . . By faith also of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob dying, blessed each of -the sons of Joseph. . . By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the fierceness of th king: for he endured as seeing Him that is invisible. . . . By faith they [the Israelites] passed through the Red Sea. . . . The prophets . . . by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions [like Daniel], quenched the violence of fire [like the three children in the furnace]. . . . They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword. . . being in want, distressed, afflicted: of whom the world was not worthy." (12) This is what makes St. Paul say in the same epistle: "And therefore, . . . let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: looking on Jesus, . . . who having joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. . . . For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." 

(13)The numerous martyrs who have died in Spain since July, 1936, gave our Lord this testimony of blood; they won the victory of heroic faith over the spirit of the world or the spirit of evil. Without going as far as the shedding of blood, this victory is won by the faith of all the saints: in the last century by that of the Cure of Ars, Don Bosco, St. Joseph Cottolengo, and nearer our day by that of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus, and of many very generous souls whose names we do not know, but whose oblation ascends toward God like the sweet odor of incense. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." (14) In this way souls are configured to Christ: first of all, to His childhood, then to His hidden life, in a measure to His apostolic life, and finally to His sorrowful life, before sharing in His glorious life in heaven.