Life in Christ
The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church
impels them to act as
witnesses of the Gospel
and of the obligations
that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words
and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or
makes it known.
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness
of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to
manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism
and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they
were strengthened at Confirmation.
is the supreme witness given to the truth of the
faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears
witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by char
ity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doc
trine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me
become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me
to reach God.”
The Church has painstakingly collected the records of
those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These
are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written
in letters of blood:
Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this
age will be of any use tome. It is better for me to die [in order
to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends
of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who
rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . .
I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and
this hour to be counted among your martyrs. . . . You have
kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this
reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify
you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus
Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and
the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the
ages to come. Amen.
271 St. Ignatius of Antioch,
4, 1: SCh 10, 110.
272 St. Ignatius of Antioch,
6, 1-2: SCh 10, 114.
14, 2-3: PG 5, 1040; SCh 10, 228.