On chapter 3 of the book of Daniel…

Behold three youths who have set an example for all.

They were unafraid of the numerous satraps and of the words of the king.

They did not tremble when they heard about the fiery flames of the furnace, but they spurned all and the whole world for they thought only of the fear of God.

You see how the Spirit of the Father teaches eloquence to the martyrs, consoling them and exhorting them to despise death in this world, to hasten their attainment of heavenly goods.

But a person who is without the Holy Spirit is frightened of the struggle.

He hides himself, takes precautions against a death that is only temporal, is afraid of the sword, falls into a panic at the thought of the torture.

He no longer sees any other thing than the world here below, worries only about the present life, prefers his wife to everything else, is bothered only about love for his children, and seeks nothing but wealth.

Such a man, because he is not endowed with heavenly strength, is quickly lost.

That is why anyone who desires to come near the Word listens to the behest of the King and Lord of heaven:

Whoever does not bear his cross and follow me is not worthy of me, and whoever does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple.

Scripture tells us that after this those three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the white-hot furnace and walked about in the flames, singing to God and blessing the Lord.

[…] God saved those he wanted, in order that the wonders of his works might be revealed to the whole world.

But those whom he desired to undergo martyrdom, he crowned and let them come to him.

If he drew the three youths out of their predicament, it was to show the emptiness and folly of Nebuchadnezzar’s boastfulness and prove at the same time that what is impossible to man is possible to God.

Nebuchadnezzar had proudly declared: Who is the God that can deliver you out of my hands? God proved to him that he can free his servants when he wishes to do so.

That is why it is improper for man to oppose the decisions of God. For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. Whether we live or whether we die, we belong to the Lord.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Commentary on Daniel, II, 18-37 (SC 14:150-184); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of Week 33 in ordinary Time, Year 2.