|The Massacre of the Priests by H. de la Charlerie|
Honored as martyrs and beatified in 1926, this group of priests, religious, and seminarians, along with Blessed Charles-Regis de la Calmette, a layman, remind us that we, as members of the Church, are each called to defend the Church's freedom from those powers which would deny her freedom to teach, worship, and serve those in need, in the spirit of Christ. Their commitment to the Church and their willingness to offer their lives rather than deny her freedom testifies to their faith: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? As Scripture says: 'For your sake we are being slain all day long; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.' Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of him who has loved us" (Romans 8:35-37).
A Prayer in Honor of the Martyrs of September +
May the sight of the great number
of your holy Martyrs gladden us, O Lord,
making our faith stronger
and bringing us consolation
by the prayers of them all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[from the "Common of Several Martyrs" in The Roman Missal]
[Adapted from my book, From Season to Season: A Book of Saintly Wisdom (Abbey Press Publications, 2012)]