Would you be ready for martyrdm if God reguired so . .


. . .or would you ptrefer to stick to the cozy life of a nun or a monk ?

Saturday, 18 January 2003

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Students of the Almo Collegio Capranica,

  1. The approach of the Feast of St Agnes offers us again the pleasant occasion for our encounter this year. With affection I greet each of you. I especially greet Cardinal Camillo Ruini and I thank him for his courteous words of greeting spoken in the name of all. With him I greet the members of the Commission that follows the Collegio Capranica, with a special greeting for the Rector, Mons. Alfredo Abbondi, who was appointed a short time ago.

With all my heart I hope, with the coming of the new formation team and with the contribution of everyone, all of you dear students, may know how to make headway with your enthusiasm and participation in the last stage of your formation, growing in fraternal communion, in a way that offers the example of a united spiritual family growing in the desire for the service of God and the brethren.

  1. St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, is the protectress of your Almo Collegio who at a young age - she was only twelve years old - knew how to give to the Lord Jesus the last witness of martyrdom in an age in which the Christian community recorded many who fell away.

On the day of her feast, that we celebrate on 21 January, the liturgy invites us to ask God for the strength “to imitate her heroic constancy in the faith” (cf. Collect). In fact, dearly beloved, this is the lesson that we can take from St Agnes: her heroic constancy in the faith “even to the shedding of her blood”.*** This young martyr invites us to persevere with fidelity in our mission, even to the point of sacrificing our life, if necessary.*** It calls for an interior disposition that must be nourished daily by prayer and a serious ascetical programme.

  1. Priests, called to be enlightened guides and coherent examples of Christian life for the People of God, cannot fall short of the faith that the Lord and his Church place in them. They must be holy and they must be educators of holiness with their teaching, but even more with their witness. This is the “martyrdom” to which God calls them, a martyrdom which, even though it does not involve violent bloodshed, always requires that bloodless but “heroic constancy in the faith” which characterizes the existence of true disciples of Christ.

May God be pleased to grant this to each of you. I entrust this prayer to the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin and to the constant intercession of St Agnes. With these sentiments and wishing you a serene and profitable year, from my heart I bless you


Well, we can banter and mull over weather or not we’d be prepared to give up our lives or suffer torture in the name of our faith, but the truth is its really one of those things where you really can’t know for sure until the situation, God forbid, is staring you in the face.

I bring this up a lot with people, and have heard a priest reference it before, but whenever I hear someone talk about martyrdom, I think about Todd Beamer of United 93 on 9/11.

As many people know, Todd was on the phone with a dispatcher named Lisa for most of the flight, and right before he and the others took the plane and gave up their lives for others, he said the Lords Prayer with her.

“…and forgive us our trespasses, as we* forgive those who trespass upon us*,
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory…forever.”

Those were the last words he ever spoke to anyone before he set the phone down and Lisa heard him say, “You guys ready! Let’s roll!”

That to me is what martyrdom is all about. At a moment when no one would’ve blamed him for curling up and cursing cruel fate, he instead, as I see it, asked God to give him strength to rise to meet the destiny that had so suddenly and tragically been placed before him, unfair as it may have seemed.


Thank you for answering.
However, let me go a little deeper into the subject:
I am not here to judge the merits of that man on the plane you talk about.
However, is it clear to you that the martyrdom us Christians are called to face sometimes has to do with proclaiming our faith, proclaiming Jesus as the only Saviour, dying for our faith, not just because we took the “wrong” flight ?


I ask You, our God to be with the nuns and priests and lay Christians who even in our times are persecuted and killed in several countries of the world. I ask You, our God to help them to keep their faith, love and courage to the end. I ask You, Jesus, to hold them in His loving presence and let them be witness of You to others. I ask these things whether the martyrdom is grey or red.


However, is it clear to you that the martyrdom us Christians are called to face sometimes has to do with proclaiming our faith, proclaiming Jesus as the only Saviour, dying for our faith, not just because we took the “wrong” flight ?

Sooo… good Christians should actively pursue martyrdom?:confused:




Thanks for reminding us of that powerful witness.

A particular memory for me is of a Dad who rescued his family members from a burning caravan (motor-home) and then drove his family to hospital 20 miles away, then died. He found the love and the will to drive them there although he had serious burns to 90% of his body. I don’t know if he was an avowed Christian, but he certainly witnessed love that gave life for others.


Well, coming from a sixteen year old girl, I’d have to say that if I would have to die, I’d love to die for my Savior.



I would like to think I would be ready, but one never knows until the moment arrives. I always picture myself, like Worf on STNG, facing the situation and saying, “Today IS a good day to die.” But I’ll never know until the situation happens, if it happens.



Exactly. Nobody knows exactly how they are going to die. I remember my teacher telling us that during the Collumbine shooting, there was a girl who woke up and went to school, just like a normal day, and later found herself at gunpoint. The shooter asked her “Do you believe in God?” and she replied yes, and bam. she was a martyr for her faith. I know I’d like to live as long of life as possible, but if my time would come, I’d love to give it up for Jesus Christ. It’s like, you’re dying for a reason. The best reason of all.



I pray I will be found worthy of martyrdom and be a good martyr.


You know, I’d like to think I would, and have often asked if I could.

However much I see myself ready for it though, sadly I can also see myself in Peter’s shoes denying he knew Christ at all. My problem is I can picture myself in a whole bunch of situations, from John the Baptist to Judas. So I’m really not sure of hypothetical situations until I’m actually faced with them personally.

That said, I always pray for the strength to serve Him worthily. I couldn’t be a martyr on my own.

God Bless,


I didn’t say so.
I said . . if God so required


Martyrdom is a bejeweled crown which no one is worthy of, yet all true Christians desire, for it is the supreme share in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the banner of the Elect and the power of Holy Mother Church, and this can clearly be seen when Christians suffer, whether silently each day or loudly at the end of life, and when they shed their blood for the Catholic Faith, for the blood of the martyrs is the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in light of the Mystery of the Incarnation and of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and of the dolorous Passion, whereby the more blood is shed, the stronger the Church becomes and the more she grows in the world - just as the more Blood Chist shed, the more our Redemption was accomplished - and this paradox of our religion is testified to quite clearly by history, for it shows that the martyrs went to Heaven and many of their executioners and enemies, upon seeing the souls’ faith and fortitude, suddenly converted to Christianity, and some of them became themselves martyrs for the Catholic Faith.


Has anyone ever noticed that in times of adversity and persecution the Church seems to grow and is stronger, and in times of comfort and easiness we find ourselves in disarray?


Dear brothers and sisters,

I don’t know if what I am going to say fits into this subject, but it is a beautiful idea I learnt recently from the Catechesis given on Friday nights by Father Fanzaga, the Director of Radio Mary in Italy, my favourite radio programme.
The Devil tempted Adam and Eve and caused the world to be distressed by suffering and death.
We see suffering and death as negative things, us imperfect Christians.
Especially us modern people, who are constantly bombarded by TV programmes telling us how we can keep healthy until a very late age.
However, the “ingenious” thing Jesus did is exactly that of using the Devil’s plan to bring salvation, I mean Jesus used suffering and death for the benefit of mankind.
I don’t know if I am expressing myself correctly.
What the Devil brought to the world (suffering and death) to make us cry, the Lord made “noble”.
The Lord defeated the negative “halo” attached to suffering and death.
Suffering offered to God in cooperation with Christ’s Passion earns us big merits.
Death in a way does not exist anymore, does not mean the end, because Jesus proved there is Resurrection.
We must not be afraid of suffering and death. The are positive things for us Christians.
They may be negative for pagans but not for us Christians.
Having said this, it is not for me to encourage people to suffer and die.
Each one must mature his/her concept of martyrdom according to his/her degree of spiritual development.


umm…being a monk or a nun (any religious) IS a type of martyrdom… it’s a type of dying to self…

it’s not a “cozy” life lol.

there are different types of martyrs… some die during persecution… either suffer a lot and offer their sufferings to God… like many of the Saints…


I don’t “aspire” to martyrdom, but I pray that God will give me the courage to face it as He wishes if I were ever put into that situation.

Except for the Apostle and disciples, many or most of the early martyrs did not voluntarily march out and proclaim their Christian membership. Most hid or practiced their faith in secret. IF you know it is a death sentence to practice your faith in public then you go to secret masses or go underground.

Once discovered, it is different story, then you have to summon up the courage to accept whatever comes. It helps to consider the situation or possibilities beforehand. I would hope and think that I would be ready. I pray I would react as I should but I don’t think anyone can be really sure until they are actually in that situation.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.