Monday, December 04, 2006
What is a Martyr? I asked this question to myself the other day after an intense meeting about spreading the great news of Christ to the "pre-Christian"” in our neighborhood. I read the definition and it basically says that a martyr is recognized as such because they preferred to die than to renounce their faith.
Jokingly I thought it would at times be much easier to be killed for the true faith than to put up with the baggage of living out that faith from day to day with people who call themselves Christians, yet want no part or worse yet get in the way of carrying out the call of a Christian. And yet it is the martyrs who get noticed for their strong faith.
Now that I have complained, I did some looking, and have concluded that the martyrs of the past and today have gone through much more than I ever will...…And They Die! At least at this point I am getting to reflect.
Here are some famous martyrs of the past.
Stephen…looked at by the church as the 1st martyr. You can find his story in Acts 7.
Peter…as the picture above shows and as tradition proclaims died on a cross by crucifixion upsidedown.
Ignatius of Antioch... died as a martyr in the an Olympic like arena by the mouths of lions. The Roman authorities hoped to make an example of him and thus discourage Christianity from spreading. It didn't work.
There are many many more. A good magazine of modern day martyrs is called "The Voice of the Martyrs".
Sometimes we'’d much rather die. And yet we who are living must agree with St. Paul in Philippians 1:21-26.
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again."
Blessings in Christ!