Matthew 5:20–26


Handed down through the centuries, the account of Saint Polycarp’s martyrdom is an extremely moving text. It records the dialogue of his trial. Dragged before the proconsul in a stadium, Polycarp was told to take an oath and deny Christ. The proconsul urged him, saying, “Swear, and I will set you at liberty; reproach Christ.” Polycarp boldly declared, “Eighty-six years have I served him, and he never did me any injury: How then can I blaspheme my king and my Savior?” All were amazed at the courage and conviction of the old man, who welcomed death rather than betray the Lord.


Heavenly Father, we pray for the strength and unwavering faith of Saint Polycarp in the face of persecution. May we, too, boldly stand for our Savior, Jesus Christ, even in the most challenging of circumstances. Amen.


Research organizations that assist persecuted Christians, like the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, or Aid to the Church in Need. Consider supporting their missions.

We look forward to praying with you again tomorrow.