Because Justin Martyr was often called Martyr almost seemed it was his last name. But, it could have been as it simply meant witness. A promising convert at thirty, he lived in the early part of the second century, became an Apologist, argued against pagan philosophical systems for which he once belonged and wrote extensively on the Liturgy. When asked by the Emperor to offer sacrifice to the gods, he deliberately refused and single- handedly chose rather to die than worship them.
Martyrdom, and not boredom, is the hallmark of Christianity. Had it not been due to the deeply founded faith and blood of Martyrs who professed in word and deed strict fidelity to the Gospel, that small community led by the Apostles uncertain of its future, most likely, would not have thrived. The conviction that Christ’s teaching outweighs every human doctrine, fueled and inspired others over a period of several centuries to devote their precious lives to the church. They were the ones who brought us this far which offer a wonderful chance and reason to celebrate as well as present huge challenges to face. However, much as I wish that the genuine witness of the few would change troubled individuals and give them sufficient enthusiasm to lead lives under the light of the Gospel, sadly, many are overwhelmed by disbelief and lack of nerve, perhaps because of the complexity and extent. Martyrs are not born, they are made. To nurture one’s faith and deepen spiritual growth, the quality and amount of time spent is extremely critical but often, the struggle in the journey is caused by false expectation that after going through the rituals, spiritual exercises and personal devotions, we will be immune to life’s difficult moments. Amen.