Cardinal Rodriguez on Christian Martyrdom Today

A final quote from Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez, given during the Q&A after his talk "The Meaning of Mercy" at Santa Clara University. (For the full video of his talk, click here. The quote below begins at 87:20.)

For a general overview of the Cardinal's talk, click here. Some of his other Q&A responses are also posted: The situation in Latin America the "Unfree Market"; the church and homosexuality; and the need to question capitalism.

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INTERLOCUTOR: On the way in we walked by the crosses representing the El Salvadoran martyrs. Those crosses are of course something very important to the heart of the university. I wonder if you might close your wonderful visit with us by just reflecting on your experience of those martyrs themselves and what the martyrs mean to you and how we might think of them today in light of being part of this “Church of Mercy."

When you think about love, and you think about commitment with God, the biggest sign of love is to give your life to God. And there are some ways of giving yourself to God—in a Christian marriage, in a Christian family, in priesthood, or in religious life, or in martyrdom.

And they [the El Salvadoran martyrs] are not the only ones. There are thousands in the world. Some that will never be known, only in Paradise. I was listening in a refugee camp in Jordan, all the martyrs for the faith, for the Christian faith that have been dying and continue dying in Iraq for instance. There is a terrible persecution, those who die in Nigeria with this crazy Boko Haram, it’s terrible.

The Catholic Church, the Christian Churches are the most persecuted nowadays. Martyrdom is not something of the past. It’s happening now. And when you see—well, you know that, God willing, Archbishop Romero will be beatified in the second part of the year. And he is only one of those martyrs who continue.

Martyrdom is part of our faith. And of course God knows how he will call us to Him.

But do not be afraid of giving yourself to God. Never. 

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