Today we celebrate two feast days; St Paul of the Cross or Saints John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions. As a child, this was always the Feast of the North American Martyrs so I would like to share a bit about them. You can always go to New Advent (newadvent.org) and find out more, as these men were fascinating and brave, gentle and strong, and suffered horribly for Truth.
Between 1642 and 1649 eight Jesuits were killed by the native Huron and Iroquois Nations of North America. They were horrible tortured, disfigured to the point that one (St Isaac, I believe) had to get special permission to continue to say Mass because his hands were mangled and he could not hold the Body of Jesus in the normal manner.
They were tough old birds, but dedicated to those members of the indigenous nations who had embraced The Truth of the Catholic Faith. Despite continuing dangers, they insisted on going back to the Americas. St. Isaac died on Oct 18, 1647 and St John de Brebeuf died on March 16, 1648.
I believe it is important to learn about the lives of the early martyrs and saints of our Faith. It is possible to draw comfort from knowing they went through such hardships in order to protect the Truth - when times are hitting us hard, and we feel alone and abandoned by family and friends, it helps to know we stand on the shoulders of these giants.
It is also wonderful to remember that they are as ALIVE as they have ever been - more so, really, as now they stand in the constant loving and glorified presence of God Himself! Their love for Him and for the Body of Christ pours out onto us and we need to turn to them in times of trouble.
My patron (or Confirmation saint) is St Cecilia. The last time in Rome I got to go to her church and see her body in repose under the altar after all these centuries. To know that she takes a special interest in her spiritual daughters is both comforting and inspiring. I cannot falter in my love for Jesus and His Church when I have a big sister like her backing me up.
Please pray for my spiritual sister, Patty Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org). She is about to embark on an amazing spiritual journey of forgiveness and separation from a family of origin that has just let her down. She is doing it from a Catholic perspective and I am in awe of her courage and strength.
Please pray for my family. We are going through a tough time right now and need prayers of healing. I know we will weather the storm, but again I am amazed at the strength I see in the women around me. The grace God pours out on his daughters is abundant and obvious.
Thank you.....thank you Lord.....and now - it is time for my 2 ounces of protein drink.