American Orthodox Catholic Christianity

The Optina Fathers - Faith Series

   Acquiring the Reward for Martyrdom

... we too, beloved brothers, even if ... we do not put up with chains, beatings, prison, other bodily punishments, persecution at the hands of our fellow human beings for righteousness' sake, nevertheless we are capable of receiving the Savior's chalice and obtaining the palm of martyrdom if we take care to chastise our bodies and subdue them; if we accustom ourselves to supplicating the Lord in the spirit of humility and with a contrite heart, if we attempt to accept with a calm mind insults inflicted by our neighbor; if we rejoice in loving even those who hate us, who inflict injustice upon us, and in doing good to them and praying earnestly for their lives and safety; if we exert ourselves to be adorned with the virtue of patience and also with the fruits of good works. Indeed if we live our lives in this way and, according to the Apostle's words, display our bodies as a living sacrificial offering, holy [and] pleasing to God, He will with heavenly condescension deign to see to it that we are rewarded with the same glory as those who have given their bodies up to death for the Lord's sake. Just as their death is precious in the sight of the Lord, so will our lives become precious [in His sight]...

- The Venerable Bede (+735) Homilies on the Gospels

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