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Martyrs for All Ages: Weekly Message for 02-05-2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Church on back-to-back days celebrates the feasts of St. Agatha and St. Paul Miki and companions, martyrs from vastly different eras, continents, and cultures.
Agatha died in third-century Sicily, Paul Miki and companions in 16th-century Japan. What they shared was a love for Christ and a willingness to die for his sake.
They could have avoided martyrdom. A bit of compromise could have brought them longer and more comfortable lives. But they didn’t choose that route. They followed the narrow road that leads to eternal life.
Some of us at times might have been tempted to look at the valiant souls of old through the lens of holy cards and think that martyrdom was simply a touch of high drama in the past.
Not so. Those martyrdoms were brutal. And their message still resonates. Those deaths expressed the convictions of people who wouldn’t conform to the world. If it could be said that Agatha died for purity, Paul Miki perished for patriotism (for how he wanted his beloved homeland to know Christ).
More than ever we feel the need to imitate those martyrs’ convictions. We feel the urge to help people regain love and esteem for purity and marriage and to exhort our political leaders to give pride of place to God over partisanship.
If this mission ushers in a new era of martyrdom, so be it. Perhaps a new harvest of Christian culture awaits the seed of new martyrs’ blood. More than a few areas of the world already know this lesson well.
To delve deeper in this theme you might consider our Retreat Guide on being “Faithful Until Death: A Retreat Guide on Heroic Youth.” And count on the intercession of Agatha and Paul Miki.
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor