Throughout history Christians have been persecuted, suffered, and died for the sake of Christ, knowing that it is better to be rejected by men than rejected by God. Christian persecution worldwide is increasing and becoming more horrible with each day, and we have not even seen the beginning of what is coming.
In response to the worldwide persecution, Pope Francis made a statement this past weekend saying that martyrdom is a grace from God to endure persecution, which comes from the devil because he hates the fact that Christians are saved by Christ:
The persecution of Christians all over the world is caused by the devil who stirs people against the Christian faith, Pope Francis said during a prayer service in Rome over the weekend.
On Saturday, Pope Francis voiced out his reflection on a Bible passage read during a service dedicated to Christian martyrs at the St. Bartholomew Basilica in Rome. The pontiff spoke about hatred which comes from the devil and love which stems from Jesus Christ, Crux relays.
“With his death and resurrection, [Jesus] rescued us from the power of this world, the power of the devil, and the prince of the world doesn’t want this,” said Pope Francis. “Because we were saved by Jesus, and the prince of the world doesn’t want this, he hates us and provokes the persecution.”
In addition, Pope Francis described martyrdom as a “grace from God, not courage.” Just as it has been said that the country needs heroes, the Church also needs martyrs and other people who are committed to become witnesses for Christ even up to the point of death.
“What does the Church need today?” Pope Francis asked. “Martyrs, witnesses, this means, every-day-saints, those who lead ordinary lives, carried forward with consistency; but also those who have the courage to accept the grace of being witnesses to the end, to their death.” (source)