The prospect of actual martydom, back in the 1970s, seemed a dim and distant prospect. Now it seems to have jumped so much closer that, in many countries of the world, it is a reality. In fact, in Europe we have long had “dry” martydoms where men and women have been vilified for their faith and lost their jobs or their homes rather than their lives.
There are one or two attractions to being a ‘witness’ for Christ: first and foremost must be the fact that we are promised a martyr’s crown and a “Go straight to Heaven” card. We would take our place among the elite (that word again) – no purgatory, fantastic!
What else? Well extraneous body parts such as toe nails and hair clippings might take on a value hitherto undreamed of. But that is it.
Still interested? Good!
Here is Part one of Bl Adrian Fortescue’s Guide to Martyrdom in 16 easy steps:-1. Above all things love God with all thy heart.
2. Desire His honour more than the health of thine own soul.
3. Take heed with all diligence to purge and cleanse thy mind with oft Confession, thy desire or lust from earthly things.
4. Be you houseled (Holy Communion) with entire devotion.
5. Repute not thyself better than any other person, be they never so great sinners, but rather judges and esteem yourself most simplest.
6. Judge the best.
7. Use much silence, but when thou needs must speak.8. Delight not in familiarity of persons unkown to thee.
9. Be solitary as much as is convenient with thine estate.
10. Banish from thee all judging and detraction, especially from thy tongue.
11. Pray often.
12. Also enforce thee to set thy house at quietness.
13. Resort to God every hour.
14. Advance not thy words or deeds by any pride.
15. Be not too much familiar, but show a serious and prudent countenance with gentleness.
16. Show before all people a good example of virtues.
17. Be not partial for favour, lucre or malice, but according to truth, equity, justice and reason.
18. Be pitiful to poor folk and help them to thy power, for then thou shalt greatly please God.
19. Give fair language to all persons, and especially to the poor and needy.
20. Also be diligent in giving of alms.
21. In prosperity be meek of heart, and in adversity patient.
22. And pray continuously to God that you may do what is His pleasure.
23. Also apply diligently the co-operation of the Holy Ghost whatever thou hast therein to do.
24. Pray for perseverance.
25. Continue in dread, and ever have God before thine eyes.
26. Renew every day the good purpose.
27. What thou hast to do, do it diligently.
28. ‘Stablish thyself always in well-doing.
29. If by chance you fall into sin, despair not.
And if you keep these precepts, the Holy Ghost will strengthen thee in all other things necessary, and thus doing you shall be with Christ in Heaven, to whom be glory, laud, honour, and praise everlasting.
Blessed Adrian was beheaded for his faith on Tower Hill on July 8th 1539.