Today is the Feast of a number of martyrs. Namely St. John of Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, and their companions who, between 1642 and 1649, these eight Jesuits suffered horrible tortures and were killed as they tried to proclaim the Christian faith in North America.
Also, St. Philip Howard (1557-1595). He had a conversion experience. His life had previously been anything but virtuous. He had also deserted his wife. He became a Catholic and changed his life.. Philip was imprisoned because of his faith, condemned, and left to die in prison.
It is also the Feast of St. Paul of the Cross (1694-1775). He is the founder of the Passionist Order.
There is a common trend in these three celebrations. It is the passion of Christ.
“Anyone who wants to be a follower of mine must take up their cross and follow me?”
Unless a grain of wheat dies it will not bear fruit.
A follower of Christ must die to the ego and be born again, afresh.
It is about putting our hands on the plough and moving forward without looking back.
These Saints took their faith seriously. Some of them put up with great suffering rather than deny their faith.
We also need to have a clarity that gives us freedom. Living our faith gives us freedom, a clarity of purpose.
God loves us and invites us into a loving relationship. God wants the best for us. Living the Gospel way of life is about living a full life, to be who we are meant to be.
Letting go of illusions and false treasures helps us to embrace true treasure.
Am I free enough not to be encumbered by excess baggage?
Am I ready to say a full hearted yes to God?
Lord I believe, help my unbelief.