It's Martyrdom Time...



Today was the Feast of St Agnes, Martyr of the Church who was beheaded for keeping her virginity and courageously proclaiming Christ to be her true Spouse. We Catholics have been quite left alone in the UK, the US and the West as a whole for a long while, but the story is very different in other countries in India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, China and many other countries around the World, where the Church is still under daily attack.

Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," meaning, I assume that the witness of the holy martyrs only gives the Church more life because the men and women who still today lay their lives down for Christ say to the World, "Jesus Christ is the man I am willing to die for, because he laid down his life for me." I mean, how long can you keep killing the innocent and just until people eventually say, "Oh alright, you can have a Church and practice your religion, just keep the noise down and pay a bit extra tax and we won't bother you for a few hundred years."

In the UK we have the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales, many of whom were killed at Tyburn, York, during the horrendous and bloody reign of Henry VIII, who had many Catholics killed, even ones he truly respected such as the great St Thomas More, because they wouldn't sign the Act of Supremacy. Only one Bishop, incidently, was martyred during this time and his name was St John Fisher.

So, and I know this is a bit dark and gruesome, but it is not totally impossible a scenario to imagine, that the Catholic Faith becomes so grotesque a religion in the eyes of Western societies, or to a charismatic leader with mass appeal (no pun intended) that a persecution of the Church is launched. How do you want to go? Be inventive as we are promised they will be should the time come.

a) Beheaded.
b) Sawn.
c) Shot/Shot with a sawn-off shotgun and then beheaded.
d) Smelted down with plastic and turned into a telephone, which by Supernatural Grace becomes the 'direct line to God' that your protestant murderers keep banging on about, so they can genuinely obtain His forgiveness and be mercifully told by the entire Court of Heaven to join the One True Church in order to frequent the Sacraments of Grace and save their souls.
e) Hung.
f) Drawn.
g) Quartered.
h) All three of the above (you really love the Church!)
i) Electrocuted/Tazered repetitively.
j) Stabbed
k) Smoked/Roasted/Grilled/Baked/Seared/Skewered and kebabed asking, "Salad, chilli sauce, garlic sauce?"/Deep-fat fryed/Boiled/Poached/Pressure-cooked/Tinned/Canned/Bottled and thrown out to sea only to return to the miraculous sound of an angelic choir singing 'Message in a Bottle,' by The Police.
l) Gassed.
m) Drowned/Thrown off a pier with lead weight only to resurface saying, "Bhoy, that was a lucky escape!" only to be harpooned to death viciously.
n) Dropped out of hot air balloon/plane with no parachute, noting, "And to think people pay good money for this! What a view! Oops, nearly forgot, Lord, don't hold this sin against..." (SPLAT)
o) Starved/Dehydrated/Rehydrated too much/Fed an extremly intense diet of saturated fats daily until you suffer fatal heart failure.
p) Poisoned/Lethal injection/Electric Chair
q) Fed to lions/piranhas/sharks/aligators/killer ants/killer bees/grizzly bears/killer badgers/killer squirrels only to thwart your persecutors because you've befriended them and taught them to give more praise to God, before a more sure method of execution.
r) Stoned.
s) Macheted.
t) Fired out of cannonball, blown up and emblazoned across the sky, spelling, by Supernatural Grace, a list of all the Popes since St Peter or, knowing me, "And you're absolutely sure you don't want to marry me?"
u) Winched into active volcano due to go off within the next 48 hours according to highly accurate seismic readings.
v) Clubbed.
w) Crushed and recycled (a.k.a. Bishop's Choice, "Come now, think of the environment! Please recycle me, I couldn't bear to be put into landfill. Dear Lord, I pray these persecutors look after Your planet better from now on!")
x) Minced/Blended/Spliced/Grated/Sliced/Cubed/Freshly Ground/Burnt down and smoked/Burnt down and turned into teabag for gigantic tea pot (a.k.a. English 'Til I Die)
y) Buried alive.
z) Being used as a new and intriguing novelty minute-hand for Big Ben saying, "You rascals! You won't be laughing at the End of Time!" to yet more peels of laughter.

So many ways to go! Can you think of more? Still, anything's better than that hideous tumour on the front of my fag packet.

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