Sunday, June 13, 2010

Martyrdom

Be prepared.
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The recent martyrdom of Bishop Luigi Padovese in Turkey reminds us that we are living in the age of martyrs.  In these days I think Catholics would be wise to arrange their lives in such a way as to be a sort of preparation for martyrdom.   Learning how to be Catholic in a society and culture which is becoming increasingly anti-Catholic.  To learn how to do this, there are no better teachers than the saints, especially those who were martyrs. 
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We can study the lives of the early Christian martyrs, who as the song testifies, were recognized by their love.  Yet there are numerous modern martyrs whose example may be more comprehensible to us because they lived under totalitarian conditions which have pretty much become the rule of law in our day.  I'm especially thinking of the Nazi persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland.  As in our day, the Church was persecuted because it was seen as the enemy of an evil ideology which promoted and enforced such human rights violations as euthanasia, abortion, and so on.
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Yesterday I learned of the memorial of six Salesian martyrs of the Salesian oratory at Poznań, Poland: Edward Klinik (23), Francis Kesy (22), Jarogniew Wojciechowski (20), Czesław Józwiak (22), and Edward Kaźmierski (23).  Young men martyred by the Nazis.  Young men prepared to give their lives for Christ, as evidenced in a poignant letter  by Francis Kesy to his family just before his death:
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 “My dearest parents, brothers and sisters, the time has come to say goodbye to you on August 24, the day of Mary Help of Christians … May the Good Lord take me to himself. Don’t have regrets that I am leaving this world so young. I am now in a state of grace. ... I am going to heaven. There I shall pray to God … Pray sometimes for me … I’m going now.” The six young men were taken into the prison yard in Dresden and beheaded. - Read more at Da Mihi Animas 
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The martyrs are ready intercessors for us, their example shows us how to live faithfully in the midst of great hardship and opposition.  We need courage to do the will of God.  As the scripture tells us, "When you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials." 
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Art: Bl. Czesław Józwiak, one of the Salesian martyrs.

4 comments:

  1. Please God, let us always be ready.

    I wonder if the Church will reconize the tragic murder of the Bishop as martyrdom, or just the result of the work of a crazy guy, as in the case of Blessed Charles Foucault?

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  2. I have made retreat and given a retreat at the Lithuanian convent in CT. that has a beautiful archive and museum of Lithuanian religious art and testimony to the martyrs of Lithuania...I actually met a cousin of a young woman, a Servant of God, whose prayer book I carry with me who died in Siberia for teaching the Catholic faith...hunger, horrid living conditions, unbelievable slave labor; such a testimony of love, faith, fortitude, forbearance...puts me to shame!
    The Slavic/Ukrainian/Lithuanian/Russian martyrs are so absolutely wonderful! Pray for us, all of you, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ!!

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  3. Maria7:08 PM

    "Sanguis martyrum est semen Christianorum". --

    "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians"

    ReplyDelete

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