The lives of the Saints and Martyrs should give us courage in the practice of virtue

February 2, 2022 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 483
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Note from the editor of Immaculata Library: This book snippet is graphic and should not be read by children.

Stimulate your courage, moreover, by contemplating the fortitude of so many Christians who cheerfully embraced poverty, mortification, humiliations, for love of Christ.

Many of them so loved suffering that they sought it as eagerly as the worldling seeks pleasure, or as the merchant seeks gain, preferring poverty to riches, hunger to abundance, labors and the cross to rest and comfort.

The Church daily presents for our consideration such heroic souls, not only that we may worthily honor them, but that we may be excited to imitate them.

Consider, too, the greatness of the courage, the heroism displayed by the martyrs.

There is no kind of torture or suffering which they did not endure. Some were burned alive; others were torn to pieces by wild beasts; many had their flesh torn from their bodies with red-hot pincers; some were cast into caldrons of boiling oil; others were compelled to walk barefoot on burning coals, or were tied to the tails of wild horses and dragged through thickets and briars or over sharp stones.

It would be almost impossible to enumerate all the tortures invented by the malice of devils to conquer the courage of the servants of God.

We read of a martyr in Nicodemia who was scourged so cruelly that every blow brought away a piece of the flesh, leaving the bones exposed to view, and into these cruel wounds the executioner poured salt and vinegar; and, finding that life was not yet extinct, they laid the mangled body upon a slow fire, turning it from side to side with iron hooks until the soul took its flight to God.

Read the lives of these brave soldiers of Christ, and your courage will be reanimated; you will grow ashamed of the little you have done for God or your soul.

They were human as well as we are. Their bodies were as sensitive as ours to sufferings. They had the same God to assist them; they hoped for the same reward to which we aspire.

If eternal life cost them so much, shall we refuse to mortify the irregular desires of the flesh to attain this blessed end?

Shall we not have the courage to fast one day, when we see them almost dying of hunger?

Shall we refuse to remain for a short time on our knees in prayer, when they continued to pray for their enemies during long hours of agony, even when nailed to the cross?

Shall we refuse to resist our inclinations and passions, when they unhesitatingly abandoned their bodies to the tortures of the executioner?

They endured without murmuring the solitude and suffering of dark prisons, and shall we refuse our soul a few moments solitude in prayer each day to amend the past and to prepare for the future?

If they submitted their bodies to the rack, to the wheel, to fire and the sword, shall we refuse to chastise ours for the love of Christ?

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