Sri Lanka: The Mystery of Martyrdom

Sri Lanka: The Mystery of Martyrdom April 22, 2019

After the horrific terrorist bombing in Sri Lanka our modern, utilitarian world asks why such things happen.

They happen because, below the surface of our political news cycle, below the surface of our celebrity culture, below the surface of our affluence, below the surface of our humanistic attempts to create our utopias another battle simmers.

This is the battle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. Put in simply, mythic terms, this is the battle between the great dragon, Leviathan and the King of Light and Life.

The dragon always demanded blood. Like the vampire beast that he is, he thirsts for blood.

Sacrifices were the currency of the dark Lord’s religion.

Then Jesus Christ God’s Son burst that bondage from the inside out. By submitting to death and becoming both priest and victim he also became the victor. His resurrection sealed the victory.

This fearsome exchange did not end at Calvary. To be sure, that sacrifice was the one, full, final sacrifice. It was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices and set humanity free.

But from the apostolic age onward the martyrdoms continued, and those martyrdoms are a perpetual continuation of the death of Christ.

St Paul said it, “For me to live is Christ. To die is gain” and about his own sufferings, “I bear in my body the marks of the crucified” and “I complete in my physical sufferings what is lacking in the cross of Christ.”

The mystical and terrifying truth is that the Church is the Body of Christ. She therefore does on the earth today what Christ did when he was here.

One of the things he did when he was here was to suffer and die at the hands of wicked men.

It is not different down the ages and today. In the suffering, torture and death of the martyrs Christ suffers torture and death still.

Does this mean we love suffering and seek martyrdom? No. However, we can see that God always uses the worst to bring about the best. We did the very worst thing imaginable. We killed God’s own Son. Out of that he brought our redemption.

Likewise out of the death of the martyrs today–in Nigeria, India, China, Sri Lanka, Iraq or North Africa–the church is being renewed.

The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the church.

Holy Martyrs of Sri Lanka – ora pro nobis. 

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