Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

March 24 | Fortitude (Pt. 1)

Saint Irenaeus of Sirmium


What fear do you need to conquer?

“The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause.” (CCC 1808)

That’s how The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines fortitude. It is a moral virtue that ensures firmness in the face of difficulties and obstacles, and consistency in the pursuit of holiness.

We might not know about Saint Irenaeus of Sirmium if he had not used fortitude when things got difficult—unimaginably difficult.

Irenaeus was a bishop during the time of the brutal Roman persecution of Christians. His zealous proclamation of the Gospel drew the attention of the authorities, leading to his arrest and presentation before Probus, a high official. Probus demanded that Irenaeus make a sacrifice to the Roman gods. If Irenaeus’ fortitude failed in that moment, all his work as a preacher would have been undermined, but he would have saved his life. His fortitude did not fail, and he refused to deny Jesus.

His own parents, relatives, and friends were forced to watch him be tortured. They tried to convince him to simply give up and offer the pagan sacrifice, but Irenaeus’ fortitude did not waver.

Finally, Probus tried one more tactic. He tried to convince Irenaeus to save his own life so that his sons would still have a father. Irenaeus replied, “My sons believe in God, who will care for them. As for me, nothing will force me to renounce my Christ.”

Irenaeus was then led to a bridge over the River Savva for his execution. He prayed for his flock and his family, and then was beheaded and thrown into the river.

Today, ask God to fill you with the fortitude you need to carry out the mission he is calling you to pursue. Ask him to fill you with the fortitude you need to be more fully the person he made you to be.

Do not be afraid. Just do the next right thing, especially when it is difficult. Soon, you'll be living a life of fortitude.


I will face my fears with fortitude.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: March 24

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Oscar Romero

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