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Sanguis Martyrum Semen Christianorum

There’s something about the stories of the martyrs that absolutely captivate me. Whether it be the martyrs of the early Church– St. Peter crucified upside-down, St. Agnes dragged through the streets, St. Cecilia tortured and decapitated. Or the martyrs closer to this day and age– the Cristeros in Mexico, the countless priest and religious murdered in Spain during the early 1900s, St. Maximillian Kolbe in the concentration camps during WWII.

I’ve read these stories and more countless times, yet my mind can still not fathom the level of faith. How did they do it?

This side of Heaven we canno

t say definitively, but I think it's reasonable to conclude– God’s grace was allowed to manifest in a powerful ways because these individuals were open and aware of the presence of God accompanying them even before their horrific death.

These brothers and sisters of ours integrated the faith so deeply into their life that it permeated every decision they made. Their last decision and word was ultimately for Christ, yet their final fiat was build on a foundatio

n of a series of habits, behaviors, and choices in which they said yes to Christ all throughout their life. They developed a way of living and loving with Christ.

When the moment came for them to choose between life here on earth or eternal life with Christ, there was really no decision to be made. The answer was clear and in a way made for them. They had grown accustomed to co-living with Christ and sharing their life with him. To choose life on earth, meant separating themselves from their constant companion who had remained with them throughout their journey. How could they choose the way that would lead them to depart from Him?

Face value would have you believe these acts of the martyrs were foolish and non-sensical. Yet as Garrigou LeGrange once said, "Love knows the better path" and on the level of the heart it makes all the sense in the world that the beloved would never choose the path void of the presence of their true love.

It also makes sense that the blood of the martyrs is an efficacious witness for Christianity. We're all suckers for a good love story, and in the end that's what the stories of the martyrs are. They can be told as epic moments of stren

gth and courage, yet I think when we talk to our brothers and sisters in Heaven one day, we'll encounter souls that were pierced not by sword or guillotine, but ardent love for Jesus Christ. So much so that they went to go the ends of the earth and even so far as to lay down their lives down out of pure and passionate love.

We all dream of a love like that. We all long for a life so noble. These stories, these saints, these souls, show us that a love stronger than death is alive and well for

those who dare to see the extraordinary presence of the Beloved in ordinary reality.

“Sanguis Martyrum Semen Christianorum” — the blood of the martyrs is the seed of new Christians

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