MARTYRDOM IS A REALISTIC POSSIBILITY FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN- SAYS POPE
The time has come to cease the talk that the Christian walk is easy, and that heaven awaits all despite their works. The time has come to stop compromising Christ's message for the sake of human respect-- because in the end anything less than the truth is not persuasive.
We must reveal the truth about the Christian life-- that it is a radical battle against self and the dominant culture in which martyrdom may be a real possibility. While we may not be asked to shed our blood, our witness may cost us dearly in sacrifice and suffering for love of Christ and His Church. Despite the many difficulties of true conversion and commitment we are not without His grace to see us through.
At the recent beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs the Pope spoke of martyrdom as a real possibility for the followers of Christ.
From Asia News: "The beatification of 498 martyrs from the Spanish Civil War and yesterday’s beatification of a Polish nun, Sister Celina Chludzińska Borzęcka, gave Benedict XVI to opportunity to touch upon a central tenet of the faith: martyrdom. Indeed martyrdom is a “realistic possibility” for every believer who lives his or her faith coherently. But in addition to the giving one’s life as a result of an act of violence there is also the “silent” gift in “everyday life” made by those who dedicate themselves to the poor, i.e. those who give an “important witness in the secularised societies of our times.”
“The contemporaneous inclusion of such a large number of martyrs to the list of the Blessed,” said the Pope, “shows that the supreme witness of blood is not an exception reserved only to a few individuals, but is a realistic possibility for the entire Christian people. We are in fact talking about men and women who vary in terms of age, vocation and social background but who paid with their life their faithfulness to Christ and the Church. The words by Saint Paul that echo in this Sunday’s liturgy are fitting: “For I am already being poured out like a libation,” aid Timothy, “and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith (2 Tim, 4: 6-7).”
“The month of October, which is dedicated in particular to the missionary action, thus ends on the luminous witness of the Spanish martyrs,” Benedict XVI stressed. “Their example bears witness to the fact that the Baptism commits Christians to participate with courage to expand the Kingdom of God, going as far as sacrificing their very lives. Not everyone is called to violent martyrdom,” the Pope added. But “there is also a bloodless ‘martyrdom,’ which is no less significant, like that of Celina Chludzińska Borzęcka, wife and mother, widow and nun who was beatified yesterday in Rome. She is the silent and heroic witness of so many Christians who live the Gospel without compromises, performing their duties, generously devoting themselves to serve the poor. Their everyday martyrdom is a very important witness in the secularised societies of our times. It is the peaceful battle of love that every Christian—like Paul—must indefatigably fight.” At the end, “the race to spread the Gospel commits us till death,” said the Pope.