The strong and moving words with which Pope Francis recalled the martyrdom of Fr. Hamel during his morning homily for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross call us to reflect upon the incalculable value of Christian martyrdom. It is, by its nature, the supreme act of faith, hope, and love. It crowns with glory the martyred one as they relive the mystery of the Cross in its fullness.
The grace of martyrdom radically purifies the one who faces it, loving Christ more than their own life. To be presented to the Church as a saint, the Christian martyr does not need a cause of beatification or to perform miracles.
Their very sacrifice is the greatest of miracles and is the visible manifestation of the power of grace. When the Church identifies martyrs, they are held up as an example for all Christians and placed among the ranks of the blessed in heaven. Pope Francis invites us to pray to this witness of Christ because, as a martyr, he is one of the blessed in heaven.
“May this example of courage help all of us to go forward without fear. Should pray to him? He’s a martyr! And the martyrs are blessed. We should pray for his intercession that we might receive meekness, fraternity, and peace, as well as the courage to tell the truth: killing in the name of god is satanic.”
Yours truly, Father Livio
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