Dominican Martyrs of Vietnam

Dominican Martyrs of Vietnam

Martyrdom is a strangely familiar thing. As the act of dying in witness to, and fellowship with, Christ it sits at the pinnacle of Christian experience. We talk about it a lot and yet do we expect to experience it?

Of course, the call to give the ultimate witness to Jesus is not granted to everyone but Jesus does say to each of us: ‘he who wishes to be with me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:24).
To share in Christ’s death is to deny ourselves. To deny those things which distract us from God, who is our purpose. We all know what gets in the way of our relationship with God; it could be the little things like chocolate ice-cream or negative feelings towards others or the stronger habits of life like pride, gluttony and spiritual indifference.
If we examine these habits we see that they don’t make us happy, rather they’re unfilling and fruitless. They’re not particularly helpful.
So how do we go about dealing with these things? There are many approaches but one possibility is to cultivate a preference for something greater: the more we love God the less we will be attracted to sin. How do we take this path? We can begin by forming two new habits. The first is prayer. By praying through the day we get to know God by talking to him, asking him for things and seeking his counsel. Connected with this is the second habit of maintaining a prayerful disposition, remembering that God is present all around us: that he is there. 
Many saints tell us this journey gets a bit dull from time to time, but it is always meaningful. Indeed one of the interesting things about it is we slowly become aware of a real trust, a deepening of faith, in God. The holy people say of dying with Christ that one of the most counter-intuitive statements ever uttered is true: ‘My yoke is easy, and my burden light’ (Matt. 11:30). God is good and he is on our side. Once we see that, the only thing we have to worry about it manifesting it in our everyday life, but God will help with that too.

The blog image depicts the Dominican Martyrs of Japan in the late sixteenth-century.