It may not seem this way, but we live in an age of martyrs. People all over the world, but especially in the Middle East and in Africa are being killed simply because they are Christians. Speaking to the Shalom Community who sponsored a relay to raise awareness of the terrible persecution of Christians, the pope said this:
“Your itinerary on the streets is over, but what must continue on the part of all is the spiritual journey of prayer, intense prayer; the concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled, killed, beheaded, for the only reason of being a Christian.”
There are the attacks by Boko Haram, by ISIS, by other extemist Muslims who are killing Christians. It used to be that persecution needed to be imagined, but today, we see it on an almost daily basis. Even in our own country, I have heard from people who feel a sense of persecution because of their faith. Talking with those in the science profession, I know many who calculate carefully sharing their personal faith, since many view faith and science as incompatible.