During his Sunday Angelus audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis praised as examples of the ultimate self-sacrificing love the lives of 522 priests, religious, and lay martyrs from Spain who have recently been beatified. The martyrs gave their lives for the faith during Spain's painful civil war of the 1930's, when pseudo-Marxist forces moved against the Church and many people lost their lives defending the liberties and property of the Church.
“We praise the Lord for this their courageous testimony, and we beg for their intercession in freeing the world from every violence,” the Pope said in a video message. “Who are the martyrs? They are Christians won over by Christ, disciples who have learned well the meaning of ‘love until the end’ that brought Jesus to the Cross.”
“Love doesn’t exist for distribution, love in portions,” Francis continued. “Total love: when one loves, one loves until the end. In the Cross, Jesus felt the weight of death, the weight of sin, but he trusted completely in the Father, and he forgave. Christ puts us ‘first place’ in his love; the martyrs have imitated him in this love until the end.”
“The holy fathers say, ‘let’s imitate the martyrs!’ One must always die a little in order to leave ourselves, our selfishness, our well-being, our laziness, our sadness, and open ourselves to God, and to others, especially to those who need it the most," taught the Pontiff.
“We ask the intercession of the martyrs to be concrete Christians, Christians with works and not of words, not to be mediocre Christians, Christians ‘varnished’ with Christianity but lacking substance, they were not ‘varnished’ they were Christians until the end," the Holy Father recalled, “let us ask them for their help to maintain a firm faith, even if there are difficulties.”