Cardinal Burke video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pnvGWzSsNg
A message from our Holy Father: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/pope-prepare-for-martyrdom
“Verily, there is no happiness but in the cross.” — St. John Vianney
“What a cross, to be without a cross!” — St. Louis De Montfort
“I do not fear trials sent by Jesus, for even in the most bitter suffering we can see that it is His loving hand which causes it. When we are expecting nothing but suffering, we are quite surprised at the least joy; but then suffering itself becomes the greatest of joys when we seek it as a precious treasure.” — St. Therese of Lisieux
We all know that an age is coming, the “last age”, when a great persecution will afflict the Church preceding the return of Christ. In this age, Revelation tells us, many will be martyred. Whether this age will come upon us in the near future or not, this world is certainly entering into some sort of battle against the Church and we need to be ready for whatever sacrifice may be required of us as Confirmed soldiers of Christ (be it small or great). Even if the “last age” isn’t coming any time soon, even if another age of martyrdom doesn’t come upon us (like that of ancient Rome, the Reign of Terror, or the Elizabethan Persecution), it is good for us to prepare anyway for two reasons: 1) If such sacrifice is required of us, we do not want to be caught completely unprepared. 2) This degree of the love of God is something every Catholic should strive for as he or she works toward sainthood. Even though St. Therese never suffered red martyrdom, she was ready. Here are her words: “But above all, my Beloved Savior, I would like to shed my blood for You until the last drop….Martyrdom: That is the dream of my youth. That dream has grown within me under the cloisters of Carmel….But there again I feel that my dream is foolishness, because I would not know how to limit myself to one type of martyrdom….To satisfy me I would have to have all of them….Like You, my Beloved Bridegroom, I would like to be scourged and crucified….I would like to die by being skinned alive like St. Bartholomew….Like St. John, I would like to plunged into boiling oil. I would like to undergo all the tortures inflicted on the Martyrs….With St. Agnes and St. Cecilia, I would like to present my neck to the sword, and like Joan of Arc, my dear sister, I would like to be burned at the stake, murmuring your name, Jesus….When I think about all the torments that will be the lot Christians at the time of the Antichrist, I feel my heart leap, and I would like for those torments to be reserved for me….Jesus, Jesus, if I wanted to write down all my desires, I would have to borrow Your book of life [Rev. 20:12]. In it are the records of the actions of all the Saints, and those actions, I would like to have accomplished them for You….Oh, my Jesus! To all my foolishness, what are You going to reply?….Is there a soul that is smaller and more powerless than mine!….However, even because of my weakness, You were pleased, Lord, to fulfill my little childish desires, and You now want to fulfill other desires that are bigger than the universe….” Some of the excellent resources Jesus and His Church provide for us as we prepare for the times ahead include: The Most Holy Eucharist, Devotion to the Blessed Mother (especially St. Louis De Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary), meditation on the Passion, study of and devotion to the holy martyrs, the little crosses of day to day life, the cord of St. Philomena, the Brown Scapular, mortification and sacrifice, sanctification, and the various spiritual warfare resources. And of course, we must pray, for only God can give us the graces we seek.
In light of this, I will dedicate each of my future posts to one of the holy martyrs.
This post is dedicated to St. Cecilia.