The Exhortation to Martyrdom, by Origen
|Sharing in Christ's sufferings, they will also share in his consolation|
If we have passed out of death into life by passing out of unbelief into faith, we should not be surprised if the world hates us. For no one who does not pass from death to life but remains in death can love those who have passed out of this dark house of death, as it could be called, to the building that is lit by the light of life, built up of living stones.
Jesus laid down his life for us, and so we should lay down our lives, I do not say for him, but for ourselves, or rather, I suppose, for those who are going to be built up by our martyrdom.
Christians, the time has come for us to boast. For we read: ‘That is not all we can boast about; we can boast about our sufferings. These sufferings bring patience, as we know, and patience brings perseverance, and perseverance brings hope, and this hope is not deceptive. So much has the love of God been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.’
If, as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in consolation too, then let us accept Christ’s sufferings gladly. Let us share in them abundantly, if we are looking for abundant consolation. And this is what those who mourn will receive, although perhaps not in equal measure. If the consolation were exactly equal for each person, then Paul would not have written: ‘As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so also our consolation abounds.’
Those who share in his sufferings will also share in consolation, in proportion to the sufferings that they share with Christ. You learn this from the apostle’s confident words: ‘You know that as you share in sufferings, you will also share in consolation.’
God said through his prophet: ‘In a time of favour I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ What, then, could be a more favourable time than the day when we are led off under guard, paraded before the world, but triumphant rather than the objects of a triumph, and this because of our faithful service of God in Christ?
For Christian martyrs in the company of Christ completely overcome the principalities and powers; together with him they triumph over them; sharing in his sufferings, they also share in the victories that he has won by his courage in suffering. What other day of salvation is there than the day that we depart from the world in this way?
But, I beg you, put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God commend yourselves through great endurance. You should make your own the words: ‘What do I wait for now, except the Lord?’