Monday, March 7, 2011

Be Not Offended at My Sufferings

Martyrdom of St. Perpetua

March 7th is the Feast of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, two Christian martyrs of the early 3rd century. Having been raised Catholic, I grew up well versed in tales of martyrdom. However, when I started my studies in theology, this martyrdom was the first that I considered with a critical mind. It set off my skepticism towards the veneration of saints and led me to the study of mystical phenomenology.

I see Perpetua as the principle protagonist of the narrative. For me, she is both heroic and villainous, tragic and pathetic. She provokes from me a sense of love/hate. She expresses both admirable and detestable qualities of religious devotion.

In the mid-90s, I wrote a short story about martyrdom in an attempt to articulate this ambiguity. It was never published, but I occasionally play with the idea of attempting a rewrite. Hopefully, my advanced age has brought with it advanced wisdom. ;-)

Here is a link to Perpetua's Wikipedia page.

Here's an on-line English early Christian text: The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas

Here's a video of the Perpetua's Dream of the Golden Ladder, albeit is kid cartoon style:

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