“Like Christ himself, the apostles were unceasingly bent upon bearing witness to the truth of God. They showed special courage in speaking ‘the word of God with boldness’ (Acts 4:31) before the people and their rulers. With a firm faith they held that the gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.... They followed the example of the gentleness and respectfulness of Christ” (Vatican II, Declaration on Religious Freedom, 11).
"God bestows His love on everyone, even those who persecute Him or crucify Him. If you want to imitate Him,then you too should love the people who are a source of suffering and torment for you." (Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock, pg. 87-88)
"We have to try to stand in truth and admit the following before God: My problem is based on the fact that I am filled with the pride of pretenses. I constantly expect mutuality and love from other people instead of counting only on you - this bitterness and regret that is filling my heart comes from unfulfilled expectations.
(God Alone Suffices, pg. 50)
St. Maximilian(d. 295)
We have an early, precious, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in modern-day Algeria. Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, "I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian."
Dion replied: "You must serve or die."
Maximilian: "I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian."
Dion: "There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius."
Maximilian: "That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve."
Dion: "But what harm do soldiers do?"
Maximilian: "You know well enough."
Dion: "If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army."
Maximilian: "I shall not die. If I go from this earth, my soul will live with Christ my Lord."
Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.
"To love God means to unceasingly choose His will. This demands constant concentration and steadfast effort." (Open Wide the Door to Christ, pg. 122
"This is an example of how human benevolence shown against God's will can be compared to 'satanic' actions, even if it is clothed in the beautiful robes of concern and care. In actuality, it is capable of being destructive - a spiritual poison in a very dangerous form." (God Alone Suffices, pg.49)