ROME — Pope Francis invited the faithful to reflect on Christian persecution this week, recalling the 21 Egyptian Christians whose throats were cut by Islamic State militants on a Libyan beach. “Martyrs give their lives, they do not hide the fact that they are Christians,” the pope told pilgrims gathered for his General Audience on Wednesday. “Let us remember, some years ago — today there are still many — but we recall four years ago, those Orthodox Coptic Christians, real workers, on the beach in Libya: all of them were slaughtered.”“But the last word they said was ‘Jesus, Jesus.’ They did not betray their faith, because the Holy Spirit was with them. These are the martyrs of today!” he said. Today’s martyrs, like the martyrs of the first years of Christianity, are filled with courage by the Holy Spirit, who strengthens them in their witness up to death, Francis said. “The Apostles did not let themselves be intimidated by anyone. They had an impressive courage!” he recalled, referring to the days after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. “We think of them as cowards because they all ran away, they ran away when Jesus was arrested. But they… Read full this story
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