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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

What is the difference between killing oneself to end suffering and martyrdom as a result of defying anti-Christian authority?

Question:

What is the difference between persons who commit suicide because of extreme illness or a life on drugs and dissolute living and the case of the early Christians who, although warned that they would be crucified if they continued to preach the gospel, preached anyway and were put to death?

Answer:

The difference, and is it a major one, lies in their motives. The person who chooses to take his life is completely centered on himself. The person who spends himself on preaching the gospel to the point of being martyred is completely centered on Christ. The person who is very sick and in great pain and accepts such pain as his cross is centered on Christ as well. Centering our lives of Christ makes all the difference.

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