losing your head
“I also saw the spirits of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and the word of God, those who had never worshiped the beast or its image nor accepted its mark on their foreheads or their hands.” ––Revelation 20:4
We are a Church founded upon martyrs. Archaeology shows the spread of the early Church can be traced by following the relics of saints, and martyrs were the most honored of the saints. Altars were often constructed over their bones.
St. Stephen demonstrated the power of martyrdom with his Christ-like witness (see Acts 7:59-60). Stephen’s faithfulness influenced “a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:58), who was present at the murder scene. Saul went on to become St. Paul, one of the Church’s greatest evangelists (see Acts 9:4-6).
The Apostle St. James, one of the Church’s twelve foundation stones (see Rv 21:14; cf Eph 2:20), won an early crown: “During that period, King Herod started to harass some of the members of the church. He beheaded James the brother of John” (Acts 12:1-2).
In a similar manner, many Old Testament witnesses set an example for trust in God. “They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point; they went about garbed in the skins of sheep or goats, needy, afflicted, tormented. The world was not worthy of them” (Heb 11:37-38).
A select few of us may be called to give our lives for faith in Jesus. However, most reading this won’t. This doesn’t free us from our duty to be witnesses. How does my life proclaim the risen Christ?
Prayer: Father, give me the courage to live and die for You.
Promise: “The heavens and the earth will pass away, but My words will not pass.” ––Lk 21:33
Praise: St. Catherine lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Fourth Century. She embraced virginity for love of Christ. Her counter-cultural stance inspired many young women; it also earned her martyrdom.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat for the publication One Bread, One Body covering the time period from October 1, 2022, through November 30, 2022. Reverend Steve J. Angi, Chancellor, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio January 3, 2022
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.