As the Moslem “militants” of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) rampage their way through the Middle East, burning churches and beheading or crucifying Christians, Fr. Clifford Steven’s entry today for Pope St. Sixtus II in his The One Year Book of Saints, wherein he quotes St. Cyprian, drives home the point that martyrdom (the real kind, not the blow-up-a-school-bus-full-of-children-kind) will always be the potential obligation of a Christian:

You are to understand that Sixtus suffered in a cemetery upon the 6th of August, and with him four deacons. The officers of Rome are very keen on this persecution. … Pray that we may think or immortality rather than death. … We know that soldiers of Christ are properly not killed, but crowned.

St. Sixtus II was beheaded by the emperor Valerian on 6 August 257; St. Lawrence was roasted to death — crowned — four days later.

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