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Reflections: Saints Section (Martyrs / Martyrdom)

St. Stephen, Martyr

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Martyrs / Martyrdom

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Martyrs / Martyrdom



Martyrs / Martyrdom

Also See: Saints (Topic Page)

"Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 10:21-22)

"Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mk. 13:12-13)

"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, 'No slave is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, 'They hated me without cause.' When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 15:18-27)

"They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 16:2-3)

"[Jesus said to Peter,] 'Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' He said this signifying by what kind of death [Peter] would glorify God [that is, crucifixion]." (Jn. 21:18-19)

"When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But [Stephen], filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them'; and when he said this, he fell asleep." (Acts 7:54-59)

"About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also." (Acts 12:1-3)

"'My brothers and fathers, listen to what I am about to say to you in my defense.' When they heard [Paul] addressing them in Hebrew they became all the more quiet. And he continued, 'I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment those there as well.'" (Acts 22:1-5)

"[E]ach age has had its martyrs." (Dom Gueranger)

"Martyrdom is one of the Church's characteristics and it has never failed her." (Dom Gueranger)

"Our trials are light compared with yours, O blessed martyrs!" (Liturgical Year)

"The death of the martyrs blossoms in the faith of the living." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"The mother of martyrs is the Catholic faith which those glorious warriors have sealed with their blood." [Maximus (as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)]

"[I]n dying for the faith he conquers who would have been vanquished in living without faith." [Maximus (as quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)]

"No one is a martyr for a conclusion; no one is a martyr for an opinion; it is faith that makes martyrs." (Cardinal Newman)

"[T]he blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians!" [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), c. 197 A.D.]

"May we never forget that every Christian ought to be ready for martyrdom simply because he is a Christian." (Dom Gueranger)

"[T]here would be no patience of martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Martyrs would not have been martyrs if they had not refused to disobey the commandments of God." (St. John Vianney)

"For if there is no pain in death, or very little, the glory of martyrdom would not be great." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]t is not the pain but the cause that makes the martyr, as Augustine says (Contra Cresconium iii)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he martyrs' vengeance is the overthrow of the kingdom of sin, because they suffered so much while it reigned" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"But the Lord was crucified there, that where once was the field of the condemned, there the standards of martyrdom might be lifted up." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"That eloquence is best which springs from blood; for blood is a voice of thunder, re-echoing from earth to heaven." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"...we must all be Martyrs, at least in heart, for we have all to triumph over self, and self is the harshest of tyrants." (Dom Gueranger)

"For he thought not how on earth he might escape the danger of suffering, but how in heaven he would be crowned among the martyrs." (Missae-St. Laurence)

"Let us admire these heroes of our faith; and let us learn to walk like them, though by less painful paths, in the footsteps of our Lord" (Liturgical Year)

"These Christians are a hardened race of men, to whom it seems desirable rather to die than to live." (Uttered by the persecutor of St. Eusebius)

"Blessed martyrs, with what praise shall I extol you? Most valiant warriors, how shall I find words to proclaim the strength of your courage?" (St. Cyprian)

"Holy martyrs, who have merited by your triumphs to be intimately united to God in heaven, deign to intercede on our behalf." (St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church) 

"It is insulting to pray for a martyr in church, since we ought to commend ourselves to his prayers." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is easy to honor a martyr by singing his praises, but it is a great thing to imitate his faith and patience." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"I should say rightly that the Mother of God was both virgin and martyr, although she ended her days in peace" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Martyrdom is the most perfect act of charity. But an act of perfection does not suffice to make the state of perfection" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Bless the martyrs heartily, that you may be a martyr by intention. Thus, even though you depart this life without persecutor, fire, or lash, you will still be found worthy of the same reward." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"We are all of us Christians; and we honor Christ as the one only God and King; and we are all ready to lay down our lives for him on this day." (Unnamed Martyr, martyred under Diocletian on Christmas Day, 303 A.D.)

"They are called martyrs in Greek, witnesses in Latin: because they suffered in order to bear witness to Christ, and strove unto death for the truth." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

"How great is the reward of the martyred Saint! Life, salvation and celestial light are bestowed on him for his holy deeds, and for the courage of his upright mind." (Sequence, Adam of St. Victor)

"What voice, what tongue could relate the rewards thou preparest for the martyrs? For adorned with the purple of their own blood, they bind their brows with victory's glittering laurels." (Liturgical Year)

"For a crown which is to last for ever, what are torments which last but an hour, and are followed by victory? Thy death will be thy Birth: thy last pang will introduce thee into internal life." (Adam of St. Victor)

"[Our Lord Jesus Christ] we worship as the son of God; but the martyrs we love as disciples and imitators of the Lord; and rightly so, because of their unsurpassable devotion to their own King and Teacher." (Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, c. 155 A.D.)

"[M]any a woman has waged the spiritual warfare with the courage of a man. For some have rivaled men in the courage with which they have suffered martyrdom; and some indeed have shown themselves stronger than men." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Q. What does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek?" "A. The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek, to put him in the mind that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Christ." (Baltimore Catechism, Regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation)

"O praiseworthy constancy of the martyrs; O inextinguishable charity; O invincible patience! Although under the tortures of the persecutors it appeared despicable, it shall be found worthy of praise and glory and honor, in the time of retribution." (Responsory)

"[W]e do not raise temples and priesthoods to the martyrs, because not they but their God is our God. Wherefore the priest says not: I offer sacrifice [of the Mass] to thee, Peter or Paul. But we give thanks to God for their triumphs, and urge ourselves to imitate them." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"O Almighty and eternal God, who didst consecrate the first fruits of Martyrdom in the blood of blessed Stephen the Levite; grant, we beseech thee, that the may intercede for us, who even for his persecutors begged mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son." (Collect, Octave of St. Stephen)

"What a contrast! on one side the martyrs, ever attached to God in the midst of the severest trials; and on the other, the greater part of Christians who, in the bosom of a quiet peace, refuse to give to God a heart which He certainly has a right to demand." (St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church)

"Thus were fulfilled what Christ had prophesied of Himself; thus were martyrs taught to suffer all that the malice of persecutors could inflict; thus that kingdom which was not of this world conquers the proud world, not by fierce fighting, but by patient suffering." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"There can be no such thing as a martyr out of the Church... Though [heretics and schismatics] be thrown into the fire, or be exposed to the fury of wild beasts, such a death will never be esteemed a crown of their faith and constancy, but rather a punishment of their perfidy. Such a man may be put to death, but cannot be crowned." (St. Cyprian)

"The wisdom of the pagan philosophers, and the eloquence of their orators, were confounded at the extraordinary sight of the death and triumphs of the early martyrs. The tyrants and judges were seized with astonishment when they witnessed the faith, courage, and even the gaiety of these holy champions of the faith." (St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church)

"We by no means adore the martyrs, but we honor them as the true adorers of God. We lay their bodies in rich shrines and sepulchers, and erect stately tabernacles of their repose, that we may be stirred up to an emulation of their honors. Nor is our devotion to them without its recompense; for we enjoy their patronage with God" (St. Asterius)

"A reward is due to martyrdom, not in respect of the exterior infliction, but because it is suffered voluntarily: since we merit only through that which is in us. And the more that which one suffers voluntarily is difficult and naturally repugnant to the will the more is the will that suffers it for Christ's sake shown to be firmly established in Christ, and consequently a higher reward is due to him." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The sufficient motive for martyrdom is not only confession of the faith, but any other virtue, not civic but infused, that has Christ for its end. For one becomes a witness of Christ by any virtuous act, inasmuch as the works which Christ perfects in us bear witness to His goodness. Hence some virgins were slain for virginity which they desired to keep, for instance blessed Agnes and others whose martyrdom is celebrated by the Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Unhappy they who cannot appreciate the Martyrs! Let us who are Christians take in the sublime lessons taught us by their generous sacrifice; and let our respect and love for them testify that we are grateful for the noble ministry they have fulfilled, and are still fulfilling in the Church. The Church is never without Martyrs, just as she is never without Miracles: it is the twofold testimony that she will give to the end of time, by which she evidences the divine life she has received from her almighty Founder." (Dom Gueranger)

"And this He says, that on hearing it, they might prepare themselves to bear persecutions and ills with greater patience. Then He brings them consolation, saying, And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; for the being hated for Christ's sake is a sufficient reason for suffering persecutions patiently, for it is not the punishment, but the cause, that makes the martyr. Again, that which follows is no small comfort amidst persecution: But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." (St. Theophylact)

"For instead of a diadem, they put upon Him a crown of thorns, and a purple robe to represent the purple robe which kings wear. Matthew says, a scarlet robe, but scarlet and purple are different names for the same color. And though the soldiers did this in mockery, yet to us their acts have a meaning. For by the crown of thorns is signified the taking of our sins upon Him, the thorns which the earth of our body brings forth. And the purple robe signifies the flesh crucified. For our Lord is robed in purple, wherever He is glorified by the triumphs of holy martyrs." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"The merit of martyrdom is not after death, but in the voluntary endurance of death, namely in the fact that a person willingly suffers being put to death. It happens sometimes, however, that a man lives for some time after being mortally wounded for Christ's sake, or after suffering for the faith of Christ any other kind of hardship inflicted by persecution and continued until death ensues. The act of martyrdom is meritorious while a man is in this state, and at the very time that he is suffering these hardships." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Having said, This is My commandment: that you love one another, even as I have loved you (1 Jn 3); it follows, as John said in his Epistle, that as Christ laid down His life for us, so we should lay down our lives for the brethren. This the martyrs have done with ardent love. And therefore in commemorating them at Christ's table, we do not pray for them, as we do for others, but we rather pray that we may follow their steps. For they have shown the same love for their brother, that has been shown them at the Lord's table." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The disciples of the Lord, the instruments of the Spirit, scattered throughout the world the seed of the divine word: whence sprang the martyrs who intercede for our souls. Support of the Church, perfection of the Gospel, O God-like choir of martyrs, ye fulfilled the words of our Savior. For the gates of hell wide yawning against the Church ye have closed and bolted; by the shedding of your blood ye dried up the libations of the idols; your immolation gave birth to the fullness of believers. O Admiration of the angels, ye stand crowned before God; beseech him unceasingly for our souls." (Office, All Saints)

"In this death of the children [the Holy Innocents] the precious death of all Christ's martyrs is figured; that they were infants signifies that by the merit of humility alone can we come to the glory of martyrdom; that they were slain in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof, that the persecution shall be both in Jerusalem whence the Church originated, and throughout the world; in those of two years old are figured the perfect in doctrine and works, those under that age the neophytes; that they were slain while Christ escaped, signifies that the bodies of the martyrs may be destroyed by the wicked, but that Christ cannot be taken from them." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Now it is evident that in martyrdom man is firmly strengthened in the good of virtue, since he cleaves to faith and justice notwithstanding the threatening danger of death, the imminence of which is moreover due to a kind of particular contest with his persecutors. Hence Cyprian says in a sermon (Epistola ad Martyres et Confessores ii): 'The crowd of onlookers wondered to see an unearthly battle, and Christ's servants fighting erect, undaunted in speech, with souls unmoved, and strength divine.' Wherefore it is evident that martyrdom is an act of fortitude; for which reason the Church reads in the office of Martyrs: They 'became valiant in battle' (Hebrews 11:34)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[S]ince in the act of suffering martyrdom there is a very great difficulty, the will to suffer martyrdom does not reach the degree of merit due to actual martyrdom by reason of its difficulty: although, indeed it may possibly attain to a higher reward, if we consider the root of merit since the will of one man to suffer martyrdom may possibly proceed from a greater charity than another man's act of martyrdom. Hence one who is willing to be a martyr may by his will merit an essential reward equal to or greater than that which is due to an actual martyr. But the aureole is due to the difficulty inherent to the conflict itself of martyrdom: wherefore it is not due to those who are martyrs only in will." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"When we compare our trials with yours, noble martyrs of Christ, and our combats with those that you had to fight, how grateful ought we to be to our Lord for having so mercifully taken our weakness into account! Should we have been able to endure the tortures, wherewith you had to purchase heaven, we that are so easily led to break the law of God, so tardy in our conversion, so weak in faith and charity? And yet, we are made for that same heaven which you now possess. God holds out a crown to us also, and we are not at liberty to refuse it. Rouse up our courage, brave martyrs! Obtain for us a spirit of resistance against the world and our evil inclinations; that thus we may confess our Lord Jesus Christ, not only with our lips, but with our works, too, and testify, by our conduct, that we are Christians." (Dom Gueranger)

"[A]s the Apostle says (Colossians 3:14), that 'charity... is the bond of perfection.' Now, of all virtuous acts martyrdom is the greatest proof of the perfection of charity: since a man's love for a thing is proved to be so much the greater, according as that which he despises for its sake is more dear to him, or that which he chooses to suffer for its sake is more odious. But it is evident that of all the goods of the present life man loves life itself most, and on the other hand he hates death more than anything, especially when it is accompanied by the pains of bodily torment... And from this point of view it is clear that martyrdom is the most perfect of human acts in respect of its genus, as being the sign of the greatest charity, according to John 15:13: 'Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"I feel an indescribable pleasure in reading the 'Acts of the Martyrs'; but when the martyr is a woman, my enthusiasm is doubled. For the frailer the instrument, the greater is the grace, the brighter the trophy, the grander the victory; and this, not because of her weakness, but because the devil is conquered by her, by whom he once conquered us. He conquered by a woman, and now a woman conquers him. She that was once his weapon, is now his destroyer, brave and invincible. That first one sinned, and died; this one died that she might not sin. Eve was flushed by a lying promise, and broke the law of God; our heroine disdained to live, when her living was to depend on her breaking her faith to Him who was her dearest Lord. What excuse, after this, for men, if they be soft and cowards? Can they hope for pardon, when women fought the holy battle with such brave, and manly, and generous hearts?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Then was fulfilled the promise made by our Savior to His disciples: 'When they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak, for it shall be given to you, in that hour, what to speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.' (Mt. x. 19, 20) We have a proof if it in the 'Acts of the martyrs', where we read their simple and sublime answers, when questioned by their persecutors, and this frequently in the midst of the most excruciating torments. It is the word of the Spirit, combating and conquering the world. The bystanders would frequently exclaim: 'Great is the God of the Christians!' At times, the executioners, incited by the heavenly eloquence of the victims they were torturing, cried out that they too would be disciples of such a God. We are told by authors who lived in those times, that the arena of martyrdom was the forum of faith, and that the blood and testimony of the martyrs was the seed of Christians." (Dom Gueranger)

"The scars of wounds will not be in the saints, nor were they in Christ, in so far as they imply a defect, but as signs of the most steadfast virtue whereby the saints suffered for the sake of justice and faith: so that this will increase their own and others' joy. Hence Augustine says (De Civitate Dei xxii,19): 'We feel an indescribable love for the blessed martyrs so as to desire to see in that kingdom the scars of the wounds in their bodies, which they bore for Christ's name. Perchance indeed we shall see them for this will not make them less comely but more glorious. A certain beauty will shine in them, a beauty though in the body, yet not of the body but of virtue.' Nevertheless those martyrs who have been maimed and deprived of their limbs will not be without those limbs in the resurrection of the dead, for to them it is said (Luke 21:18): 'A hair of your head shall not perish.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Is it, O Christ, that thou dost lovingly hate them, since thou judgest well that they should suffer in so many ways, and permittest them often to be crushed under tortures and subjected to a cruel death? Nay, he hates them not, but seeks to know with how much love each one labors in his service; he loves them all, yet he proves, by the toil and the strife, how great is their devotedness. For they strive against the world, the wicked unclean foe, the vices of the flesh; 'tis chiefly by this manly constancy that confessors and martyrs form themselves to virtue. The special combat for the martyr is that which gives him the stroke of death; but for the confessor the executioner is wanting: he must choose the struggle against the pleasures of the flesh. 'Tis therefore for the love of Christ that strive the former and the latter, whether men or women; and he that labors most in the strife, carries off a higher prize, a brighter crown for his combat." (Sequence)

"Some have said that although God does not will evil, yet He wills that evil should be or be done, because, although evil is not a good, yet it is good that evil should be or be done. This they said because things evil in themselves are ordered to some good end; and this order they thought was expressed in the words 'that evil should be or be done.' This, however, is not correct; since evil is not of itself ordered to good, but accidentally. For it is beside the intention of the sinner, that any good should follow from his sin; as it was beside the intention of tyrants that the patience of the martyrs should shine forth from all their persecutions. It cannot therefore be said that such an ordering to good is implied in the statement that it is a good thing that evil should be or be done, since nothing is judged of by that which appertains to it accidentally, but by that which belongs to it essentially." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[M]artyrs are so called as being witnesses, because by suffering in body unto death they bear witness to the truth; not indeed to any truth, but to the truth which is in accordance with godliness, and was made known to us by Christ: wherefore Christ's martyrs are His witnesses. Now this truth is the truth of faith. Wherefore the cause of all martyrdom is the truth of faith. But the truth of faith includes not only inward belief, but also outward profession, which is expressed not only by words, whereby one confesses the faith, but also by deeds, whereby a person shows that he has faith, according to James 2:18, 'I will show thee, by works, my faith.' Hence it is written of certain people (Titus 1:16): 'They profess that they know God but in their works they deny Him.' Thus all virtuous deeds, inasmuch as they are referred to God, are professions of the faith whereby we come to know that God requires these works of us, and rewards us for them: and in this way they can be the cause of martyrdom. For this reason the Church celebrates the martyrdom of Blessed John the Baptist, who suffered death, not for refusing to deny the faith, but for reproving adultery." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Martyrdom is the creature's testimony and return to his Creator for all the favors bestowed on him: it is man testifying, even by shedding his blood, to the truths which God has revealed to the world. In order to understand this, let us consider what is the plan of God in the salvation he has given to man. The Son of God is sent to instruct mankind; he sows the seed of his divine word; and his works give testimony to his divinity. But after his sacrifice on the cross, he again ascends to the right hand of his Father; so that his own testimony of himself has need of second testimony, in order to be received by them that have neither seen nor heard Jesus himself. Now it is the Martyrs who are to provide this second testimony; and this they will do not only by confessing Jesus with their lips, but by shedding their blood for him. The Church, then, is to be founded by the Word and in the Blood of Jesus, the Son of God; but she will be upheld, she will continue throughout all ages, she will triumph over all obstacles by the blood of her Martyrs, the members of Christ: this their head will mingle with that of their Divine Head, and their sacrifice be united to his. The Martyrs shall bear the closet resemblance to their Lord and King." (Dom Gueranger)

"The prince of this world, the old serpent, makes use of the most violent means for staying the conquests of these messengers of the Holy Spirit. He has Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded: he spared not one of the glorious chieftains. They are gone, and yet his defeat is terrible to his pride. The mystery of Pentecost has created a new people; the seed sown by the apostles has produced an immense harvest. Nero's persecution has swept away the Jewish leaders of the Christian host; but they had done their grand work, they had established the Church among the Gentiles... Towards the close of the first century, Domitian finds Christians even in the imperial family; he makes them martyrs. Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, all are jealous of the growing power of Jesus of Nazareth; they persecute His flock, and yet they see it multiply. Their master, the prince of this world, gives them political influence and philosophy; but the Holy Ghost brings both to nought, and the truth spreads through the universe. Other emperors, such as Severus, Decius, Gallus, Valerian, and Maximian, with the sterner course of cruelty unrefined by sophistry, order a universal massacre of the Christians, for the empire is filled with them. And when this, too, fails, Satan brings all his power to bear in the last persecution, which is decreed by Dioclesian and his fellow Caesars. It is to be the extermination of the Christian name. It deluges the empire with the blood of martyrs; but the victory is for the Church, and her enemies die, despairing and baffled. How magnificent, O Holy Spirit, is Thy triumph! How divine is this kingdom of Jesus, which Thou thus foundest in spite of human folly and malice, or of Satan's power, strong as it then was upon the earth! Thou infusest into millions of souls the love of a religion which demands the most heroic sacrifices from its followers. Thou answerest the specious objections of man's reason by the eloquence of miracles: and hearts, that once were slaves to concupiscence and pride, are inflamed by Thee with such a love of Jesus, that they cheerfully suffer every torture, yea and death itself for His dear sake!" (Dom Gueranger)

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