A new form of martyrdom

Interior martyrdom may take many forms; for one woman, perhaps a very virtuous one, a ‘horrible fear of God’s judgement and as a result, of death’ constitutes ‘a life-long kind of martyrdom’; another woman experiences the cross and the ‘tyranny’ of love, God ‘allows a demon free reign with every kind of temptation; she always emerges victorious’ and ‘her divine Love makes her suffer still further, hiding himself and depriving her of his gentle presence which is all her delight. She sees that absence as true martyrdom’…..
Mystics have overcome veritable martyrdom, a martyrdom in the metaphorical sense, but which brings real pain, real torture. Nuns in this state also bear witness: the martyrdom of love, like the martyrdom of faith experienced by the first Christians, bears witness to God and to his incomparable greatness and the incomprehensibility of his ways. Biographies interpret in this way the despair, the darkness, the loneliness in which nuns are so often plunged,
…In all cases, these versions of martyrdom show us that what martyrdom represented, in myth or reality, had not disappeared with the decline of bloody persecution: and this is because it could not disappear: in effect, all experiences recognised, or willed as such, ultimate experiences without limits, can not but engender ultimate witness. Now, for a man in that situation and facing these demands, only self destruction, the unreserved loss of self in one form or another, would seem a criterion of the validity of the message he is witnessing and the legitimacy of his commitment to this message.