Christian Martyrs Entering the Amphitheatre
"O God, who consecrated that abundant first fruits of the Roman Church by the blood of the Martyrs, grant, we pray, that with firm courage we may together draw strength from so great a struggle and ever rejoice at the triumph of faithful love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."
– Collect for the feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome (30 June).
This monumental painting by Léon-François Benouville was completed in 1855, and it is now displayed in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. I was quite mesmerised by this painting, and stood before it for some time, contemplating the fortitude of the Martyrs, and thinking of the bravery and charity that we need as Christians in a world that often opposes the Gospel.