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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.


269 Cf.






271 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Rom.

4, 1: SCh 10, 110.

272 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Rom.

6, 1-2: SCh 10, 114.


Martyrium Polycarpi

14, 2-3: PG 5, 1040; SCh 10, 228.

863, 905