Four Hundred Texts on Love 21

73.  Listen to the words of those who have been granted perfect love: ‘What can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written, “For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded as sheep for slaughtering (Ps. 44:22). But in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom. 8:35-39). Those who speak and act thus with regard to divine love are all saints.

Many of our clearest witnesses to the perfect love of Christian faith are those who have suffered exile, torture, and even death for Christ, even as they refused to revile or curse their tormentors. Like their Lord, they loved those tormenting them. Once upon a time, ‘martyr’ merely meant any sort of witness. Christians gave it a different connotation with their lives.

Today, of course, Christianity is often presented as a way of ‘blessing’ and material gain here and now. Janis Joplin captured the flavor of American Christianity in her classic song. I’ll close with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z031l0E_5n4
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