A reminder in this series that the Great Persecution occurred throughout the entire Roman Empire. Europe, the Middle Eastern provinces, Africa, including Egypt, all saw the imposition of the laws against Catholics.
The great cathedrals were destroyed, such as the one in Nicomedia.
The attitude of the Catholics would have been one of watchfulness and prayer. The maximum number killed as determined by historians is set at 5,000.
One of the most familiar martyrs of this time is St. Agnes.
She was young, very young. So, she was prepared for the trial she had to endure.
Living in a society where one is bound to be persecuted clarifies the mind and intentions.
Moderns think that the Catholics at the time of the Great Persecution were all slaves. Not so, but some were, and some were from all the classes. These included the highly educated and people of the urbs. No one was spared because of position or rank. We know that the Church spread throughout the continents because of the Christian diaspora.
But, what is important for today is to realize that God has a plan. And, Catholics must not be complacent.
They can plan as well. It is important to remember that when one faces death or imprisonment, we are not assured that we shall persevere to the end. We need to pray for final perseverance.
That is my prayer.
And, here is St. Francis Liguori's prayer for final perseverance.
Eternal Father, I Humbly Adore and Thank You, for having Created me, and for having Redeemed me. I Thank You for having made me a Christian, by giving me the True Faith, and for Adopting me as Your Child in Baptism. I Thank You for having given me Time-to Repent, after my many Sins, and for having Pardoned all my Offenses. I Renew my Sorrow for them, because I have Displeased You. I Thank You also for having Preserved me from Falling-again, as I would have done, if You had not Held me up, and Saved me. But my Enemies, do not cease Fighting-against me, nor will they, until I Die. If You do not Help me Continually, I will Lose Your Grace again. I, therefore, Pray-for Perseverance till Death. Your Son Jesus, has Promised that You will give us whatever we Ask-for in His Name. By the Merits-of Jesus Christ, I beg You, for myself and for all those who are in Your Grace, the Grace-of Never-more being Separated-from Your Love. May we always Love You in this Life, and in the Next.
Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me. So I Hope. So may it be.