martes, 6 de septiembre de 2016

Memorial of Blessed Francis Louis Hébert and Companions, Eudist Martyrs

by: Fr. Robert Leus, CJM

One of the dreams of our founder, St. John Eudes, was to become a martyr. According to him, “The culmination and perfection of Christian life is holy martyrdom.” Aside from that, the grace of martyrdom is the most powerful miracle that God can possibly work in Christian souls, and to suffer martyrdom for his sake is the greatest and most significant thing a Christian can achieve from God.

Today in our Congregation, we are celebrating the memorial of the martyrdom of the three priests belonging to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary:

Franςois Louis Hébert
Franςois Lefranc
Pierre Claude Pottier

Throughout their lives, they worked in seminaries entrusted to the Congregation. During the French Revolution which started in 1789, the Catholic church suffered much persecution. Religious congregations were suppressed and properties confiscated. All of our seminaries were closed and our priests were scattered. The CJM virtually went out of existence until it was restored back in 1826. In 1790 the revolutionary government enacted a law that denied to the pope any authority over French Catholicism. Each French priest and bishop was ordered to take an oath to uphold this law. Some priests did so and most of them decided they could not, because they would then be denying the universal authority of the pope. Those who refused were imprisoned, made to suffer and eventually killed. On September 2-3, 1792, the three Eudist priests were among the clergy massacred. Some 200 clergymen fell that September, and they were only a small percentage of the 1500 clergy, laymen and laywomen who were murdered in 1792 alone. In 1926, together with 188 other priest martyrs these three Eudist priests were beatified by Pope Pius XI.

Faithful to the teaching of our founder, they died for Jesus Christ and in defense of his Church. We know many saints who were martyred and offered their lives for the sake of their faith in Jesus, the Christ! In any kind of martyrdom, they remained faithful and until their last breath – they offered it to God. Today, we are asked to offer a new kind of “martyrdom.” A new kind of offering our lives for the sake of our faith…a new kind of testimony for the sake of our love for God: martyrdom to our own self…martyrdom to our longing, dreams, wants and desires…martyrdom to what we believe is true and correct. Dying for one self – to let God fill in – to let God enter into our hearts – to let God work in our life!

This in the contemporary meaning of martyrdom – dying to one’s self.

In SJE, true martyrdom consists not only in suffering, but in loss of life. Death belongs to the essence and nature of full and perfect martyrdom. This means that it is necessary to die, and to die for Jesus Christ, if one is to be a real martyr! If one is to be a true martyr, one must die and die for Our Lord himself, or for the honor of mysteries and sacraments, in defense of the Church, or in support of one of his teachings or one of the virtues he practiced.

If what we are “dying” for the good of ourselves especially of our souls…this is martyrdom – shedding “blood” for the service of the Lord and the Church! We don’t need to be martyred physically if we want to be martys – there are many things that we can do to be called “martyr” in the eyes of God! Like the lives of the three Eudist martyrs, may we be inspired to the legacy of SJE and continue to live it in our daily lives.

Blessed Francis Louis Hebert and companions, pray for us.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario