In class last week we were discussing the early Roman Martyrs, in particular Felicity and Perpetua. One woman in the class announced that she really didn't give her faith much importance but she thought that martyrdom was "the stupidest thing on earth". It wasn't so much what she said, as the contempt and anger she showed toward the martyrs that got to me.
Throughout history our world has been shaped by those who were willing to give their lives for what they believed in. Would this woman have shown such contempt for soldiers who lost thier lives in battle, or for those who died in the civil rights movement? I seriously doubt it.
Those are noble causes worth dying for, but to her and so many others, faith is something they can take or leave. As she said, her own faith didn't mean anything to her. God works in great and mysterious ways because there is a young Vietamese sister in my class who talked about Catholic martyrs in her country and throughout Asia. It was amazing to see the complete change of heart the woman had when she heard about current persecutions of Christians.
Here in America, we take our religious liberty for granted and in a way it can cause it to mean less to us. We need to spread the message of our suffering brother and sisters in faith to remind us how lucky we are to be able to choose to believe or not.