During Lent, I intensified my readings on the lives of Christian saints. The exercise was oddly discouraging, not because their virtue isn’t heroic, but because it is so heroic. This is especially true for the lives of martyrs, those who died for their faith.
Consider St. Lawrence, the third-century deacon who was grilled alive by order of Roman Emperor Valerian. He is said to have said to his torturers: “Send me back; I ended up on this side. Or St. Thomas More, Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, who joked with his executioner in 1535 that it would take more assistance up the scaffold than down.