100% Candid honesty please: Given your current state in life, could you offer yourself up as a martyr?


I haven’t been a Christian for all that long and so this hasn’t ever crossed my mind before, that is until I met an Iraqi Catholic at my University.

His name is Sayed Leo, he’s only 19 years old. He’s been shot 5 times in his life (so far), every time for “being a Christian in the wrong place at the wrong time”; three of these occasions resting squarely on Iraqi police culpability. His brother was murdered for converting to Islam under duress and subsequently practicing his Catholicism secretly. His sister was kidnapped when she was 12 and the family hasn’t seen her since. His father is in a Jordanian jail for “facilitating the conversion of a Muslim to Christianity”, presumably indefinitely. Given everything he has been through, it would seem obviously understandable if he were to abandon his faith for the sake of his safety (even though he is currently studying in the US), yet I haven’t yet experienced an American Catholic who could match him on piety and devotion.

His example got me thinking: Am I currently in a spiritual state ready for martyrdom if it were to arise? If my life hung in the balance, would I stand up and face what may, or would I cower and hide? Could I remain so optimistic and happy while facing probable doom?

Sadly, I don’t yet know the answers to these questions.

I asked Sayed how he is able to live life with such content and ease knowing that at any minute one of his family members might be killed, or that as soon as he returns to the Middle East he might himself suffer that 6th shot that ends his life. How is it that he can remain so utterly faithful and completely divorce himself from the objective reality that his faith might get him killed?

This is what he said:

“Don’t think I’m blind brother. I know what is possible and I indeed fear what is probable. Turning your back on God or the Church due to what such an affiliation might cause is, however, as equally stupid as yelling at one’s car due to getting a traffic citation or forsaking one’s family due to the family’s reputation. You are a member of that family, and no one could say that they would be the same person without such an affiliation. Just as I am my mother’s son both during the good and bad times, so too am I a member of Christ’s body for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Remember brother that it’s no coincidence that Christ calls us his bride. The spotless lamb gave his life for me and you, and my family that is suffering. Who am I to shirk responsibility when it is my turn to repay?”

This man lives every day of his life ready to die as if such were the default, yet is thankful for every extra minute God gives him. I wonder fellow CAF posters, are you in such a state? Could you, if put in the proper circumstance, give your life for the faith? Do you take advantage of the moments God gives you like my friend Sayed does?


With the rise of militan Islam, martyrdom for Christ is more and more a possibility.

In the very parish I attend are three brothers whose uncle was killed by Moslems because he would not reject Christ. They even chased him into his own house and there beheaded him.


What an incredible testimonial to faith! I think with not knowing the pain of being shot, I would say shoot me, because without God I am a worthless piece of flesh. After I had been shot a time or to, the memory of the pain involved would cause me to hide my religion.

What a truly remarkable young man and what an example of faith each of his family members are. If only all of us American Catholics could imitate their love and fervor for the Lord, what a world this would be.


Thank you for sharing the faith of this brother. When I read stories of the Saints, I feel the same inspiration to love Jesus more and to have the courage to abandon everything for Jesus. If you recall our Lord’s conversation with Peter after His resurrection, He asked Peter three times whether he loved Him, and then He commanded Peter to feed His sheep. My point is that the Lord is constantly asking us, do you love Me? If we truly love Him, then we will have the courage and willingness to die for Him. If something (fear, love of the world, lack of trust, worries) is preventing me from loving Him from the depth of our heart, then the question is meaningless whether or not I can become a martyr. To directly answer your question, I’d say I hope so. I hope I love my Lord enough to die for Him. Everyday there are opportunities for me to die to myself. St. Faustina sometimes talked about a kind of martyrdom where she doesn’t die physically but spiritually to herself so that she could endure and love her neighbor when it is very hard to do. In this sense all of us are expected to be a martyr for Christ, to say no to ourselves and yes to His commandments. I believe all of us are presented with opportunities to practice this kind of martyrdom, which is in no way inferior to physical martyrdom.


i hope and pray that i never deny Christ. but i still need to work on the love your neighbor part. if and when i get there, i will be 100% true to Christ. in the mean time i need to keep praying because i know that i can’t get there without him.


This is a very thought provoking contribution. Thanks for the post.


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