Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.123 a.8

Whether the brave man delights in his act?

Objection: 1. It seems that the brave man delights in his act. For "delight is the unhindered action of a connatural habit" (Ethic. x, 4,6,8). Now the brave deed proceeds from a habit which acts after the manner of nature. Therefore the brave man takes pleasure in his act.
2. Further, Ambrose, commenting on Ga 5,22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace," says that deeds of virtue are called "fruits because they refresh man's mind with a holy and pure delight." Now the brave man performs acts of virtue. Therefore he takes pleasure in his act.
3. Further, the weaker is overcome by the stronger. Now the brave man has a stronger love for the good of virtue than for his own body, which he exposes to the danger of death. Therefore the delight in the good of virtue banishes the pain of the body; and consequently the brave man does all things with pleasure.

On the contrary The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 9) that "the brave man seems to have no delight in his act."
I answer that As stated above (FS, Question [31], Articles [3],4,5) where we were treating of the passions, pleasure is twofold; one is bodily, resulting from bodily contact, the other is spiritual, resulting from an apprehension of the soul. It is the latter which properly results from deeds of virtue, since in them we consider the good of reason. Now the principal act of fortitude is to endure, not only certain things that are unpleasant as apprehended by the soul---for instance, the loss of bodily life, which the virtuous man loves not only as a natural good, but also as being necessary for acts of virtue, and things connected with them---but also to endure things unpleasant in respect of bodily contact, such as wounds and blows. Hence the brave man, on one side, has something that affords him delight, namely as regards spiritual pleasure, in the act itself of virtue and the end thereof: while, on the other hand, he has cause for both spiritual sorrow, in the thought of losing his life, and for bodily pain. Hence we read (2M 6,30) that Eleazar said: "I suffer grievous pains in body: but in soul am well content to suffer these things because I fear Thee."Now the sensible pain of the body makes one insensible to the spiritual delight of virtue, without the copious assistance of God's grace, which has more strength to raise the soul to the Divine things in which it delights, than bodily pains have to afflict it. Thus the Blessed Tiburtius, while walking barefoot on the burning coal, said that he felt as though he were walking on roses.Yet the virtue of fortitude prevents the reason from being entirely overcome by bodily pain. And the delight of virtue overcomes spiritual sorrow, inasmuch as a man prefers the good of virtue to the life of the body and to whatever appertains thereto. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 3; iii, 9) that "it is not necessary for a brave man to delight so as to perceive his delight, but it suffices for him not to be sad."

Reply to Objection: 1. The vehemence of the action or passion of one power hinders the action of another power: wherefore the pain in his senses hinders the mind of the brave man from feeling delight in its proper operation.
2. Deeds of virtue are delightful chiefly on account of their end; yet they can be painful by their nature, and this is principally the case with fortitude. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 9) that "to perform deeds with pleasure does not happen in all virtues, except in so far as one attains the end."
3. In the brave man spiritual sorrow is overcome by the delight of virtue. Yet since bodily pain is more sensible, and the sensitive apprehension is more in evidence to man, it follows that spiritual pleasure in the end of virtue fades away, so to speak, in the presence of great bodily pain.

Whether fortitude deals chiefly with sudden occurrences?

Objection: 1. It seems that fortitude does not deal chiefly with sudden occurrences. For it would seem that things occur suddenly when they are unforeseen. But Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that "fortitude is the deliberate facing of danger, and bearing of toil." Therefore fortitude does not deal chiefly with sudden happenings.
2. Further, Ambrose says (De Offic. i): "The brave man is not unmindful of what may be likely to happen; he takes measures beforehand, and looks out as from the conning-tower of his mind, so as to encounter the future by his forethought, lest he should say afterwards: This befell me because I did not think it could possibly happen." But it is not possible to be prepared for the future in the case of sudden occurrences. Therefore the operation of fortitude is not concerned with sudden happenings.
3. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 8) that the "brave man is of good hope." But hope looks forward to the future, which is inconsistent with sudden occurrences. Therefore the operation of fortitude is not concerned with sudden happenings.

On the contrary The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 8) that "fortitude is chiefly about sudden dangers of death."
I answer that Two things must be considered in the operation of fortitude. One is in regard to its choice: and thus fortitude is not about sudden occurrences: because the brave man chooses to think beforehand of the dangers that may arise, in order to be able to withstand them, or to bear them more easily: since according to Gregory (Hom. xxv in Evang.), "the blow that is foreseen strikes with less force, and we are able more easily to bear earthly wrongs, if we are forearmed with the shield of foreknowledge." The other thing to be considered in the operation of fortitude regards the display of the virtuous habit: and in this way fortitude is chiefly about sudden occurrences, because according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 8) the habit of fortitude is displayed chiefly in sudden dangers: since a habit works by way of nature. Wherefore if a person without forethought does that which pertains to virtue, when necessity urges on account of some sudden danger, this is a very strong proof that habitual fortitude is firmly seated in his mind.Yet is it possible for a person even without the habit of fortitude, to prepare his mind against danger by long forethought: in the same way as a brave man prepares himself when necessary.

Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.

Whether the brave man makes use of anger in his action?

Objection: 1. It seems that the brave man does not use anger in his action. For no one should employ as an instrument of his action that which he cannot use at will. Now man cannot use anger at will, so as to take it up and lay it aside when he will. For, as the Philosopher says (De Memoria ii), when a bodily passion is in movement, it does not rest at once just as one wishes. Therefore a brave man should not employ anger for his action.
2. Further, if a man is competent to do a thing by himself, he should not seek the assistance of something weaker and more imperfect. Now the reason is competent to achieve by itself deeds of fortitude, wherein anger is impotent: wherefore Seneca says (De Ira i): "Reason by itself suffices not only to make us prepared for action but also to accomplish it. In fact is there greater folly than for reason to seek help from anger? the steadfast from the unstaid, the trusty from the untrustworthy, the healthy from the sick?" Therefore a brave man should not make use of anger.
3. Further, just as people are more earnest in doing deeds of fortitude on account of anger, so are they on account of sorrow or desire; wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 8) that wild beasts are incited to face danger through sorrow or pain, and adulterous persons dare many things for the sake of desire. Now fortitude employs neither sorrow nor desire for its action. Therefore in like manner it should not employ anger.

On the contrary The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 8) that "anger helps the brave."
I answer that As stated above (FS, Question [24], Article [2]), concerning anger and the other passions there was a difference of opinion between the Peripatetics and the Stoics. For the Stoics excluded anger and all other passions of the soul from the mind of a wise or good man: whereas the Peripatetics, of whom Aristotle was the chief, ascribed to virtuous men both anger and the other passions of the soul albeit modified by reason. And possibly they differed not in reality but in their way of speaking. For the Peripatetics, as stated above (FS, Question [24], Article [2]), gave the name of passions to all the movements of the sensitive appetite, however they may comport themselves. And since the sensitive appetite is moved by the command of reason, so that it may cooperate by rendering action more prompt, they held that virtuous persons should employ both anger and the other passions of the soul, modified according to the dictate of reason. On the other hand, the Stoics gave the name of passions to certain immoderate emotions of the sensitive appetite, wherefore they called them sicknesses or diseases, and for this reason severed them altogether from virtue.Accordingly the brave man employs moderate anger for his action, but not immoderate anger.

Reply to Objection: 1. Anger that is moderated in accordance with reason is subject to the command of reason: so that man uses it at his will, which would not be the case were it immoderate.
2. Reason employs anger for its action, not as seeking its assistance, but because it uses the sensitive appetite as an instrument, just as it uses the members of the body. Nor is it unbecoming for the instrument to be more imperfect than the principal agent, even as the hammer is more imperfect than the smith. Moreover, Seneca was a follower of the Stoics, and the above words were aimed by him directly at Aristotle.
3. Whereas fortitude, as stated above (Article [6]), has two acts, namely endurance and aggression, it employs anger, not for the act of endurance, because the reason by itself performs this act, but for the act of aggression, for which it employs anger rather than the other passions, since it belongs to anger to strike at the cause of sorrow, so that it directly cooperates with fortitude in attacking. On the other hand, sorrow by its very nature gives way to the thing that hurts; though accidentally it helps in aggression, either as being the cause of anger, as stated above (FS, Question [47], Article [3]), or as making a person expose himself to danger in order to escape from sorrow. In like manner desire, by its very nature, tends to a pleasurable good, to which it is directly contrary to withstand danger: yet accidentally sometimes it helps one to attack, in so far as one prefers to risk dangers rather than lack pleasure. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 5): "Of all the cases in which fortitude arises from a passion, the most natural is when a man is brave through anger, making his choice and acting for a purpose," i.e. for a due end; "this is true fortitude."

Whether fortitude is a cardinal virtue?

Objection: 1. It seems that fortitude is not a cardinal virtue. For, as stated above (Article [10]), anger is closely allied with fortitude. Now anger is not accounted a principal passion; nor is daring which belongs to fortitude. Therefore neither should fortitude be reckoned a cardinal virtue.
2. Further, the object of virtue is good. But the direct object of fortitude is not good, but evil, for it is endurance of evil and toil, as Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii). Therefore fortitude is not a cardinal virtue.
3. Further, the cardinal virtues are about those things upon which human life is chiefly occupied, just as a door turns upon a hinge [cardine]. But fortitude is about dangers of death which are of rare occurrence in human life. Therefore fortitude should not be reckoned a cardinal or principal virtue.

On the contrary Gregory (Moral. xxii), Ambrose in his commentary on Lc 6,20, and Augustine (De Moribus Eccl. xv), number fortitude among the four cardinal or principal virtues.
I answer that As stated above (FS, Question [61], Articles [3],4), those virtues are said to be cardinal or principal which have a foremost claim to that which belongs to the virtues in common. And among other conditions of virtue in general one is that it is stated to "act steadfastly," according to Ethic. ii, 4. Now fortitude above all lays claim to praise for steadfastness. Because he that stands firm is so much the more praised, as he is more strongly impelled to fall or recede. Now man is impelled to recede from that which is in accordance with reason, both by the pleasing good and the displeasing evil. But bodily pain impels him more strongly than pleasure. For Augustine says (Questions [83], qu. 36): "There is none that does not shun pain more than he desires pleasure. For we perceive that even the most untamed beasts are deterred from the greatest pleasures by the fear of pain." And among the pains of the mind and dangers those are mostly feared which lead to death, and it is against them that the brave man stands firm. Therefore fortitude is a cardinal virtue.

Reply to Objection: 1. Daring and anger do not cooperate with fortitude in its act of endurance, wherein its steadfastness is chiefly commended: for it is by that act that the brave man curbs fear, which is a principal passion, as stated above (FS, Question [25], Article [4]).
2. Virtue is directed to the good of reason which it behooves to safeguard against the onslaught of evils. And fortitude is directed to evils of the body, as contraries which it withstands, and to the good of reason, as the end, which it intends to safeguard.
3. Though dangers of death are of rare occurrence, yet the occasions of those dangers occur frequently, since on account of justice which he pursues, and also on account of other good deeds, man encounters mortal adversaries.

Whether fortitude excels among all other virtues?

Objection: 1. It seems that fortitude excels among all other virtues. For Ambrose says (De Offic. i): "Fortitude is higher, so to speak, than the rest."
2. Further, virtue is about that which is difficult and good. But fortitude is about most difficult things. Therefore it is the greatest of the virtues.
3. Further, the person of a man is more excellent than his possessions. But fortitude is about a man's person, for it is this that a man exposes to the danger of death for the good of virtue: whereas justice and the other moral virtues are about other and external things. Therefore fortitude is the chief of the moral virtues.

On the contrary On the contrary, Tully says (De Offic. i): "Justice is the most resplendent of the virtues and gives its name to a good man."
5. Further, the Philosopher says (Rhet. i, 19): "Those virtues must needs be greatest which are most profitable to others." Now liberality seems to be more useful than fortitude. Therefore it is a greater virtue.
I answer that As Augustine says (De Trin. vi), "In things that are great, but not in bulk, to be great is to be good": wherefore the better a virtue the greater it is. Now reason's good is man's good, according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv) prudence, since it is a perfection of reason, has the good essentially: while justice effects this good, since it belongs to justice to establish the order of reason in all human affairs: whereas the other virtues safeguard this good, inasmuch as they moderate the passions, lest they lead man away from reason's good. As to the order of the latter, fortitude holds the first place, because fear of dangers of death has the greatest power to make man recede from the good of reason: and after fortitude comes temperance, since also pleasures of touch excel all others in hindering the good of reason. Now to be a thing essentially ranks before effecting it, and the latter ranks before safeguarding it by removing obstacles thereto. Wherefore among the cardinal virtues, prudence ranks first, justice second, fortitude third, temperance fourth, and after these the other virtues.

Reply to Objection: 1. Ambrose places fortitude before the other virtues, in respect of a certain general utility, inasmuch as it is useful both in warfare, and in matters relating to civil or home life. Hence he begins by saying (De Offic. i): "Now we come to treat of fortitude, which being higher so to speak than the others, is applicable both to warlike and to civil matters."
2. Virtue essentially regards the good rather than the difficult. Hence the greatness of a virtue is measured according to its goodness rather than its difficulty.
3. A man does not expose his person to dangers of death except in order to safeguard justice: wherefore the praise awarded to fortitude depends somewhat on justice. Hence Ambrose says (De Offic. i) that "fortitude without justice is an occasion of injustice; since the stronger a man is the more ready is he to oppress the weaker."
4. The Fourth argument is granted.
5. Liberality is useful in conferring certain particular favors: whereas a certain general utility attaches to fortitude, since it safeguards the whole order of justice. Hence the Philosopher says (Rhet. i, 9) that "just and brave men are most beloved, because they are most useful in war and peace."


We must now consider martyrdom, under which head there are five points of inquiry:

(1) Whether martyrdom is an act of virtue?

(2) Of what virtue is it the act?

(3) Concerning the perfection of this act;

(4) The pain of martyrdom;

(5) Its cause.

Whether martyrdom is an act of virtue?

Objection: 1. It seems that martyrdom is not an act of virtue. For all acts of virtue are voluntary. But martyrdom is sometimes not voluntary, as in the case of the Innocents who were slain for Christ's sake, and of whom Hillary says (Super Matth. i) that "they attained the ripe age of eternity through the glory of martyrdom." Therefore martyrdom is not an act of virtue.
2. Further, nothing unlawful is an act of virtue. Now it is unlawful to kill oneself, as stated above (Question [64], Article [5]), and yet martyrdom is achieved by so doing: for Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i) that "during persecution certain holy women, in order to escape from those who threatened their chastity, threw themselves into a river, and so ended their lives, and their martyrdom is honored in the Catholic Church with most solemn veneration." Therefore martyrdom is not an act of virtue.
3. Further, it is praiseworthy to offer oneself to do an act of virtue. But it is not praiseworthy to court martyrdom, rather would it seem to be presumptuous and rash. Therefore martyrdom is not an act of virtue.

On the contrary The reward of beatitude is not due save to acts of virtue. Now it is due to martyrdom, since it is written (Mt 5,10): "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Therefore martyrdom is an act of virtue.
I answer that As stated above (Question [123], Articles [1],3), it belongs to virtue to safeguard man in the good of reason. Now the good of reason consists in the truth as its proper object, and in justice as its proper effect, as shown above (Question [109], Articles [1],2; Question [123], Article [12]). And martyrdom consists essentially in standing firmly to truth and justice against the assaults of persecution. Hence it is evident that martyrdom is an act of virtue.

Reply to Objection: 1. Some have said that in the case of the Innocents the use of their free will was miraculously accelerated, so that they suffered martyrdom even voluntarily. Since, however, Scripture contains no proof of this, it is better to say that these babes in being slain obtained by God's grace the glory of martyrdom which others acquire by their own will. For the shedding of one's blood for Christ's sake takes the place of Baptism. Wherefore just as in the case of baptized children the merit of Christ is conducive to the acquisition of glory through the baptismal grace, so in those who were slain for Christ's sake the merit of Christ's martyrdom is conducive to the acquisition of the martyr's palm. Hence Augustine says in a sermon on the Epiphany (De Diversis lxvi), as though he were addressing them: "A man that does not believe that children are benefited by the baptism of Christ will doubt of your being crowned in suffering for Christ. You were not old enough to believe in Christ's future sufferings, but you had a body wherein you could endure suffering of Christ Who was to suffer."
2. Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i) that "possibly the Church was induced by certain credible witnesses of Divine authority thus to honor the memory of those holy women [*Cf. Question [64], Article [1], ad 2]."
3. The precepts of the Law are about acts of virtue. Now it has been stated (FS, Question [108], Article [1], ad 4) that some of the precepts of the Divine Law are to be understood in reference to the preparation of the mind, in the sense that man ought to be prepared to do such and such a thing, whenever expedient. In the same way certain things belong to an act of virtue as regards the preparation of the mind, so that in such and such a case a man should act according to reason. And this observation would seem very much to the point in the case of martyrdom, which consists in the right endurance of sufferings unjustly inflicted. Nor ought a man to give another an occasion of acting unjustly: yet if anyone act unjustly, one ought to endure it in moderation.

Whether martyrdom is an act of fortitude?

Objection: 1. It seems that martyrdom is not an act of fortitude. For the Greek (martyr) signifies a witness. Now witness is borne to the faith of Christ. according to Ac 1,8, "You shall be witnesses unto Me," etc. and Maximus says in a sermon: "The mother of martyrs is the Catholic faith which those glorious warriors have sealed with their blood." Therefore martyrdom is an act of faith rather than of fortitude.
2. Further, a praiseworthy act belongs chiefly to the virtue which inclines thereto, is manifested thereby, and without which the act avails nothing. Now charity is the chief incentive to martyrdom: Thus Maximus says in a sermon: "The charity of Christ is victorious in His martyrs." Again the greatest proof of charity lies in the act of martyrdom, according to Jn 15,13, "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Moreover without charity martyrdom avails nothing, according to 1Co 13,3, "If I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." Therefore martyrdom is an act of charity rather than of fortitude.
3. Further, Augustine says in a sermon on St. Cyprian: "It is easy to honor a martyr by singing his praises, but it is a great thing to imitate his faith and patience." Now that which calls chiefly for praise in a virtuous act, is the virtue of which it is the act. Therefore martyrdom is an act of patience rather than of fortitude.

On the contrary Cyprian says (Ep ad Mart. et Conf. ii): "Blessed martyrs, with what praise shall I extol you? Most valiant warriors, how shall I find words to proclaim the strength of your courage?" Now a person is praised on account of the virtue whose act he performs. Therefore martyrdom is an act of fortitude.
I answer that As stated above (Question [123], Article [1], seqq.), it belongs to fortitude to strengthen man in the good of virtue, especially against dangers, and chiefly against dangers of death, and most of all against those that occur in battle. Now it is evident that in martyrdom man is firmly strengthened in the good of virtue, since he cleaves to faith and justice notwithstanding the threatening danger of death, the imminence of which is moreover due to a kind of particular contest with his persecutors. Hence Cyprian says in a sermon (Ep ad Mart. et Conf. ii): "The crowd of onlookers wondered to see an unearthly battle, and Christ's servants fighting erect, undaunted in speech, with souls unmoved, and strength divine." Wherefore it is evident that martyrdom is an act of fortitude; for which reason the Church reads in the office of Martyrs: They "became valiant in battle" [*He 11,34].

Reply to Objection: 1. Two things must be considered in the act of fortitude. one is the good wherein the brave man is strengthened, and this is the end of fortitude; the other is the firmness itself, whereby a man does not yield to the contraries that hinder him from achieving that good, and in this consists the essence of fortitude. Now just as civic fortitude strengthens a man's mind in human justice, for the safeguarding of which he braves the danger of death, so gratuitous fortitude strengthens man's soul in the good of Divine justice, which is "through faith in Christ Jesus," according to Rm 3,22. Thus martyrdom is related to faith as the end in which one is strengthened, but to fortitude as the eliciting habit.
2. Charity inclines one to the act of martyrdom, as its first and chief motive cause, being the virtue commanding it, whereas fortitude inclines thereto as being its proper motive cause, being the virtue that elicits it. Hence martyrdom is an act of charity as commanding, and of fortitude as eliciting. For this reason also it manifests both virtues. It is due to charity that it is meritorious, like any other act of virtue: and for this reason it avails not without charity.
3. As stated above (Question [123], Article [6]), the chief act of fortitude is endurance: to this and not to its secondary act, which is aggression, martyrdom belongs. And since patience serves fortitude on the part of its chief act, viz. endurance, hence it is that martyrs are also praised for their patience.

Whether martyrdom is an act of the greatest perfection?

Objection: 1. It seems that martyrdom is not an act of the greatest perfection. For seemingly that which is a matter of counsel and not of precept pertains to perfection, because, to wit, it is not necessary for salvation. But it would seem that martyrdom is necessary for salvation, since the Apostle says (Rm 10,10), "With the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation," and it is written (1Jn 3,16), that "we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Therefore martyrdom does not pertain to perfection.
2. Further, it seems to point to greater perfection that a man give his soul to God, which is done by obedience, than that he give God his body, which is done by martyrdom: wherefore Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that "obedience is preferable to all sacrifices." Therefore martyrdom is not an act of the greatest perfection.
3. Further, it would seem better to do good to others than to maintain oneself in good, since the "good of the nation is better than the good of the individual," according to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 2). Now he that suffers martyrdom profits himself alone, whereas he that teaches does good to many. Therefore the act of teaching and guiding subjects is more perfect than the act of martyrdom.

On the contrary Augustine (De Sanct. Virgin. xlvi) prefers martyrdom to virginity which pertains to perfection. Therefore martyrdom seems to belong to perfection in the highest degree.
I answer that We may speak of an act of virtue in two ways. First, with regard to the species of that act, as compared to the virtue proximately eliciting it. In this way martyrdom, which consists in the due endurance of death, cannot be the most perfect of virtuous acts, because endurance of death is not praiseworthy in itself, but only in so far as it is directed to some good consisting in an act of virtue, such as faith or the love of God, so that this act of virtue being the end is better.A virtuous act may be considered in another way, in comparison with its first motive cause, which is the love of charity, and it is in this respect that an act comes to belong to the perfection of life, since, as the Apostle says (Col 3,14), that "charity . . . is the bond of perfection." Now, of all virtuous acts martyrdom is the greatest proof of the perfection of charity: since a man's love for a thing is proved to be so much the greater, according as that which he despises for its sake is more dear to him, or that which he chooses to suffer for its sake is more odious. But it is evident that of all the goods of the present life man loves life itself most, and on the other hand he hates death more than anything, especially when it is accompanied by the pains of bodily torment, "from fear of which even dumb animals refrain from the greatest pleasures," as Augustine observes (Questions [83], qu. 36). And from this point of view it is clear that martyrdom is the most perfect of human acts in respect of its genus, as being the sign of the greatest charity, according to Jn 15,13: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Reply to Objection: 1. There is no act of perfection, which is a matter of counsel, but what in certain cases is a matter of precept, as being necessary for salvation. Thus Augustine declares (De Adult. Conjug. xiii) that a man is under the obligation of observing continency, through the absence or sickness of his wife. Hence it is not contrary to the perfection of martyrdom if in certain cases it be necessary for salvation, since there are cases when it is not necessary for salvation to suffer martyrdom; thus we read of many holy martyrs who through zeal for the faith or brotherly love gave themselves up to martyrdom of their own accord. As to these precepts, they are to be understood as referring to the preparation of the mind.
2. Martyrdom embraces the highest possible degree of obedience, namely obedience unto death; thus we read of Christ (Ph 2,8) that He became "obedient unto death." Hence it is evident that martyrdom is of itself more perfect than obedience considered absolutely.
3. This argument considers martyrdom according to the proper species of its act, whence it derives no excellence over all other virtuous acts; thus neither is fortitude more excellent than all virtues.

Whether death is essential to martyrdom?

Objection: 1. It seems that death is not essential to martyrdom. For Jerome says in a sermon on the Assumption (Epist. ad Paul. et Eustoch.): "I should say rightly that the Mother of God was both virgin and martyr, although she ended her days in peace": and Gregory says (Hom. iii in Evang.): "Although persecution has ceased to offer the opportunity, yet the peace we enjoy is not without its martyrdom, since even if we no longer yield the life of the body to the sword, yet do we slay fleshly desires in the soul with the sword of the spirit." Therefore there can be martyrdom without suffering death.
2. Further, we read of certain women as commended for despising life for the sake of safeguarding the integrity of the flesh: wherefore seemingly the integrity of chastity is preferable to the life of the body. Now sometimes the integrity of the flesh has been forfeited or has been threatened in confession of the Christian faith, as in the case of Agnes and Lucy. Therefore it seems that the name of martyr should be accorded to a woman who forfeits the integrity of the flesh for the sake of Christ's faith, rather than if she were to forfeit even the life of the body: wherefore also Lucy said: "If thou causest me to be violated against my will, my chastity will gain me a twofold crown."
3. Further, martyrdom is an act of fortitude. But it belongs to fortitude to brave not only death but also other hardships, as Augustine declares (Music. vi). Now there are many other hardships besides death, which one may suffer for Christ's faith, namely imprisonment, exile, being stripped of one's goods, as mentioned in He 10,34, for which reason we celebrate the martyrdom of Pope Saint Marcellus, notwithstanding that he died in prison. Therefore it is not essential to martyrdom that one suffer the pain of death.
4. Further, martyrdom is a meritorious act, as stated above (Article [2], ad 1; Article [3]). Now it cannot be a meritorious act after death. Therefore it is before death; and consequently death is not essential to martyrdom.

On the contrary Maximus says in a sermon on the martyrs that "in dying for the faith he conquers who would have been vanquished in living without faith."
I answer that I answer that As stated above (Article [2]), a martyr is so called as being a witness to the Christian faith, which teaches us to despise things visible for the sake of things invisible, as stated in He 11. Accordingly it belongs to martyrdom that a man bear witness to the faith in showing by deed that he despises all things present, in order to obtain invisible goods to come. Now so long as a man retains the life of the body he does not show by deed that he despises all things relating to the body. For men are wont to despise both their kindred and all they possess, and even to suffer bodily pain, rather than lose life. Hence Satan testified against Job (Jb 2,4): "Skin for skin, and all that a man hath he will give for his soul" [Douay: 'life'] i.e. for the life of his body. Therefore the perfect notion of martyrdom requires that a man suffer death for Christ's sake.

Reply to Objection: 1. The authorities quoted, and the like that one may meet with, speak of martyrdom by way of similitude.
2. When a woman forfeits the integrity of the flesh, or is condemned to forfeit it under pretext of the Christian faith, it is not evident to men whether she suffers this for love of the Christian faith, or rather through contempt of chastity. Wherefore in the sight of men her testimony is not held to be sufficient, and consequently this is not martyrdom properly speaking. In the sight of God, however, Who searcheth the heart, this may be deemed worthy of a reward, as Lucy said.
3. As stated above (Question [123], Articles [4],5), fortitude regards danger of death chiefly, and other dangers consequently; wherefore a person is not called a martyr merely for suffering imprisonment, or exile, or forfeiture of his wealth, except in so far as these result in death.
4. The merit of martyrdom is not after death, but in the voluntary endurance of death, namely in the fact that a person willingly suffers being put to death. It happens sometimes, however, that a man lives for some time after being mortally wounded for Christ's sake, or after suffering for the faith of Christ any other kind of hardship inflicted by persecution and continued until death ensues. The act of martyrdom is meritorious while a man is in this state, and at the very time that he is suffering these hardships.

Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.123 a.8