We have an early, precious, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in modern-day Algeria.
Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, "I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian."
Dion replied: "You must serve or die."
Maximilian: "I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian."
Dion: "There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius."
Maximilian: "That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve."
Dion: "But what harm do soldiers do?"
Maximilian: "You know well enough."
Dion: "If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army."
Maximilian: "I shall not die. If I go from this earth, my soul will live with Christ my Lord."
Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.