Thought for the Day – 8 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“St Ambrose describes virtue, as a slow martyrdom.
In this sense, we must all be martyrs.
There is only one difference.
The Martyrs of the Church shed their blood and gave up their lives for Jesus, within one hour or one day and gained their reward immediately.
Our martyrdom, on the other hand, will be prolonged.
It will last all our lives and will end only when we accept death with resignation from the hands of God.
Ours is the martyrdom of virtue.
Let us clearly understand, that solid Christian virtue is a slow and continual martyrdom, which will end with death.
It is not a flower, which springs up spontaneously in the garden of the soul.
It is like a seed which is thrown on the damp earth and must die there slowly, so that it can generate young shoots, which will produce the ears of corn.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” (Jn 12:24-25).
It is necessary, then, to descend into the mire of humility and to remain there until we die.
Only after we have died to ourselves, shall we rise again in God (Cf ibid).
After the death of our lower instincts and vices, we shall find a new life.”