I’ve been making improvements on getting to daily Mass even when my local parish is off Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday Saint Apollinaris was remembered. I was not familiar with his biography but was struck by something St Peter Chrysologus said of him in a sermon:
To die only once is very little for those who can gloriously conquer the enemy more often for their king. It is not death so much as faith and dedication that make one a martyr; and just as it is a mark of virtue to fall in battle, in conflict, for the love of the king, so it is a mark of perfect virtue to engage in combat for a long time and to bring it to its conclusion.
This builds on St. Paul’s quote: “I die each day”.
When I’d read the lives of the saints, I used to admire those martyrs who gave their lives in loyalty and testimony to their faith. At the same time – especially within Opus Dei – I was reminded that heroic virtue is attained through the faithful daily conquering of the small battles that beset us every day. That is what laid the foundation for their ability to be willing to lay down their lives for their faith when it was demanded of them.