And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
The martyr is one who loves life enough to seek heavenly life at the expense of earthly life. The martyrs of Jesus lose their lives, not to be finished with the burden of life, but to gain the fullness of it. Like their Master, for the joy set before them they endure the Cross. Like the sinful woman in today’s gospel, they risk a little thing like the disgust and disapproval of the Pharisees in order to have the great thing: the eternal love and life of Jesus. The martyr’s love of life is the key that opens the door to heaven. He must not by any means throw the key away wantonly, since God Himself made it. But once the door is open, it is understandable if the martyr thinks more of going through the door than of hanging on to the key.