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.

"Jesus,

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:
Jesus,
Jesus,
Jesus!"


from the Spiritual Diaries of St John de Br├ębeuf
who was martyred in 1649