Yesterday, I heard the story of Blessed Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, a martyred priest during the Communist takeover of Poland. Blessed Jerzy became a member of the Solidarity movement, a source of hope for his fellow countrymen. As you can imagine, the Communists hated him, tried multiple times tried to intimidate him, and even kill him. They eventually succeeded in kidnapping, torturing, and beating him to death.
Blessed Jerzy’s story reminded me of another soon-to-be Saint of our times, Blessed Stanley Rother. Rother, an American priest, was martyred during the Guatemalan civil war. Both men had chances to escape, to run, to flee the country – but they didn’t.
It’s a theme that we notice going all the way back to St. Peter. Sneaking his way out of Rome, Peter is stopped by Christ who asks “Quo vadis?” Or, “Where are you going?” As we know, St. Peter turned around and walked to his death.
Saints don’t run. They don’t take the easy way out. As men and women called to sanctity, called to holiness, called to Sainthood – what does that mean for us? What are we willing to risk for God?
Most of us don’t face persecution and threat of death on a daily basis. It’s not our lives that are on the line each day. But, what about our names, our reputations? Are we willing to sacrifice those for our faith and for God?
It’s a tough question. It’s a tall ask. But, that’s the stuff of Saints.