Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Desire for true martyrdom

"For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.


my Lord and Saviour,
what can I give you
in return for all

the favours you
have first conferred
on me?

"I will take

from your hand
the cup of your sufferings
and call on your name.

"I vow
before your eternal Father
and the Holy Spirit,
before your most holy Mother
and her most chaste spouse,
before the angels, apostles and martyrs,
before my blessed fathers
Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier
-- in truth I vow to you, Jesus my Saviour,
that as far as I have the strength
I will never fail to accept
the grace of martyrdom,
if some day you
in your infinite mercy
should offer it to me,
your most unworthy servant.

"I bind myself in this way
so that for the rest of my life
I will have neither permission nor freedom
to refuse opportunities
of dying and shedding my blood for you,
unless at a particular juncture
I should consider it
more suitable for your glory
to act otherwise at that time.

"Further, I bind myself to this so that,
on receiving the blow of death,
I shall accept it from your hands
with the fullest delight
and joy of spirit.

"For this reason, my beloved Jesus,
and because of the surging joy which moves me,
here and now I offer my blood and body and life.

"May I die only for you,
if you will grant me this grace,
since you willingly died for me.

"Let me so live
that you may grant me
the gift of such a happy death.

"In this way, my God and Saviour,
I will take from your hand
the cup of your sufferings
and call on your name:

from the Spiritual Diaries of St John de Brébeuf
who was martyred in 1649

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I persevered in the reading

"and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God.

"At length I had found peace of mind. When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body.

"Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love.

"I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more.

"I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

"Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed:

"'O Jesus, my love,
at last I have found my calling:
my call is love.
Certainly I have found

my place in the Church,
and you gave me

that very place, my God.

"'In the heart of the Church, my mother,
I will be love,

and thus I will be all things,
as my desire finds its direction."

From Story of a Soul
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (Saint Thérèse of Lisieux)
(Office of the Readings)