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Is it worth even being skinned alive like St. Bartholomew? In Earthly terms, you wouldn't allow THAT to happen to you even for the adoration of the planet's most lovely woman or the richest bounty of wealth, fame or beauty!!!

I'm just trying to gauge what is felt 'generally' on the subject. A good answer would help me to get an understanding of what is mostly taught and considered understood among theologians, priests, parishes etc... rather than a personal guess.

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I think you can experience a better feedback here accepting a lot of downvotes and no ansewers, though. –  Elberich Schneider Dec 1 '13 at 20:25
    
Yeah, you already know what is wrong with this question. It is an opinion question. You have plenty of rep to hit the chat room. You should take opinion topics like this there, where the on-topic rules are quite lax. –  fredsbend Dec 1 '13 at 20:43
    
@ElberichSchneider I had no idea of downvotes...the above is not an edit from after it was downvoted but while I was first posting it. My guess was that it would be taken as an opinion based question...I disagreed. However- there!- I am proved wrong. It evidently IS...which is frustrating. After posting (and researching) a great deal of questions like these I understand more and more that we know NOTHING about Heaven save its negations and a few symbolic accounts. It's a shame that the "better than we can imagine" thing isn't straightforward FACT. –  Sehnsucht Dec 1 '13 at 22:44
    
@ThomasJennings feel free to roll back, I don't think there's anything wrong with the question. I think the close votes came from people not seeing catholicism and the down votes came because you violated the rule of meta-self-disparagement by saying the site doesn't like these kinds of questions, when these kinds of questions are exactly what the site needs, if for no other reason than to make it clear to people outside the Catholic Church that the Catholic Church as tangible doctrine concerning Joy and everything you touch on in the question. –  Peter Turner Dec 2 '13 at 5:56
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, the manner of death of the Martyrs is written of, by Pope Paul VI (citing the early Church Martyrs) as an ecstasy second only to that of the supreme joy felt by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After Mary, we find the expression of the purest and most burning joy -- where the cross of Jesus is embraced with the most faithful love -- among the martyrs, in whom, in the very midst of their torment, the Holy Spirit inspires an impassioned longing for the coming of the Spouse. Dying and seeing heaven open, Saint Stephen is but the first of the innumerable witnesses of Christ. How many there are, in our day still and in many countries, who, risking everything for Christ, could declare with the martyr Ignatius of Antioch: "It is in the fullness of life that I write to you, desiring to die. My earthly desire has been crucified, and there is no more fire in me to love matter. There is only in me a living water that murmurs and says: 'Come to the Father.'"

Pope Paul IV - Gaudete in Domino

and a little under (possibly) the immediate torture and death of the Martyrs is the agonizing passions of the Saints like St. Bernadette and St. Maximilian Kolbe and all the others who suffered with chronic illnesses like tuberculosis. Not to mention the saints who actually miraculously received the wounds of Christ like St. Pio and St. Francis of Assisi and St. Theresa of Avila.

Beyond that, there is the martyrdom of ignominy (phrase I coined - don't look it up), which is shared by the various saints who were wrongly accused and vindicated into sainthood like St. Gerard and St. Joan of Arc.

So, there are numerous brutal paths one can take to be tested by fire, the most direct route happens to be martyrdom, but like St. Francis found out, you can't just always hop in a boat and get martyred!

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