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Pray with Pope Francis Reflection - March 2024

Fr. Edmund Lo, SJ

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

My brothers and sisters: In this month of March, Pope Francis invites us to pray for new martyrs, that those who risk their lives for the Gospel in various parts of the world might imbue the Church with their courage and missionary drive.
As the Church Father Tertullian famously says: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." The Church has been known to flourish in places where the blood of the martyrs have been shed. This reality leads to a more profound question: Is there anything in life that is worth giving our lives for? 
Whereas dying for the sake of the Gospel may inspire courage and missionary drive, we need remember that martyrdom itself isn’t simply a product of courage and boldness, lest it be mistaken as an act of mere bravado. 
It can be helpful to imagine the circumstances in which martyrdom often takes place. Think about an atmosphere that is hostile to the Christian faith, with Christians constantly living under pressure. 
Most importantly, whereas the martyrs in the past have welcomed the call to relinquish their lives for the Christian faith, they never actively seek it out. Rather, the grace of martyrdom is freely given to us regardless of our merits and efforts.  
Since we are not in a position to actively seek out opportunities for martyrdom, it can be useful to consider our own dispositions when we find ourselves in similar life circumstances as the martyrs. 
How do I carry myself in an environment that is hostile to the Christian faith, day after day? Do I become discouraged after an initial spurt of great enthusiasm? Or do I persevere, and slowly develop a kind of spiritual tenacity and humility that are embodied by the martyrs?
Let us seek to develop the inner disposition of the martyrs in our lives. May God bless you today.
Watch previous Pray with Pope Francis videos here.

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