January 21, 2010
Early in the fourth century, during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, Saint Agnes suffered martyrdom, “in odium fidei”. Both Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine attest to her young age and she is mentioned in the Roman Canon.
With the passage of time and the change in political and social structures, giving one’s life, death by martyrdom, while still present, has been accompanied by a contemporary form of suffering for the faith: “a white martyrdom.”
This form is frequently found in affluent cultures and societies, principally in the west. Those who have chosen to be faithful to Christianity, to the church and to the Gospel, are treated with scorn, ridicule and mockery. They are the victims of calumny and defamation of character; accused of being “closed minded”, “reactionary”, and “old fashioned”; viewed with contempt and indifference.
Those who suffer from this form of martyrdom are reminded that the present state of things and this particular form of suffering is a contemporary “Vis Crucis”, a way of the cross, which is to be expected when one chooses to be faithful in the midst of betrayal and accommodation.
May the example and intercession of Saint Agnes, and all of the martyrs, strengthen us so that we too will be faithful and constant in the daily living out of our Catholic Faith in these present times.
Saint Agnes pray for us. Amen.