Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prisons Dark

The young are so idealistic, I got a nineteen year old to write the "Bidding Prayers" yesterday, the first left me feeling a little queezey ...
Let us pray that like St Philip, Bishop Kieran and the priests of our
diocese will prefer death that denying Christ or his Church.
... all that disembowelling at Tyburn, being "chained in prisons dark". A quick assassins bullet, but mention electricity, or searing flesh, mutilation, cold even ..., difficult.

I remember an Italian priest preaching that if the Church is not being persecuted, we should question whether she is really being the Church. If a bishop or a priest is not suffering for the faith it could be he is not preaching it, certainly he is not living the life of self-offering that is meant by the phrase "priest of Jesus Christ".
He said, one of the charisms of the Church is martyrdom, one of the gifts of Christ to his Church is the Cross, and we should pray for it.
Pray for priests, pray for me, pray even harder for bishops!


PeterHWright said...

I have been having exactly these thoughts recently ! The nineteen year old parishioner is quite right. Better death than sin, but then mortal sin is deadly, anyway.

Peter, the first pope, denied Christ, so it's not suprising we go on doing the same.

Matyrdom ? I don't think I'd mind too much if it were a bullet or something quick, but not the ghasly tortures suffrered by the martyrs.

But then there is a slow form of martyrdom, which one might call pscychological martyrdom, which lasts all one's life. I suspect many good and orthodox priests know and understand this, and experience it in their own lives. They don't need it spelling out. But I suppose I mean the life of hope, expectation, joy, pain, frustration, all because a man has responded to the call "Take up your cross and follow me."

Brave men who have responded to this call !

Thank God for good priests.

Anonymous said...

Hanging, drawing and quartering has been, thank God, removed as a means of capital punishment since the eighteenth century.

The French did something, arguably, more awful with tying limbs to horses... one can work out the rest.

PeterHWright said...

Old Believer,

You should read (or maybe you already have read) the punishment for parricide under the Ancien Regime !
Charle Dickens gives the gory details somewhere in "A Tale of Two Cities".

gemoftheocean said...

I always think in those situations where one is now called on to witness to the faith it is such a small thing to do now, for many of us in the west, anyway. How very little (relatively speaking) God asks of us.

Someone says something proabortion in the workplace? I don't let let it pass. Someone says something nasty about the Catholic faith? I don't let it pass. I don't have to come out guns blazing ... but I don't let it pass. Otherwise they just get courage to do it again. Never let the heathens win.

Simon Platt said...

I often find myself thinking of Fr. Ignatius Spencer who, although not a Martyr, gave up much for Christ's church and died in a ditch.

Now, I don't want our priests to die in ditches, but it would be nice to think that more of them were at least willing to risk it.

Anonymous said...

"Hanging, drawing and quartering has been, thank God, removed as a means of capital punishment since the eighteenth century."

If Man is capable of doing something in the eighteenth century, he is more than capable of doing it in the 21st. Abortion statistics suggest that we have not progressed since then. Mystical saints down the ages suggested that the final persecution of the Church, before our Lord returns in Glory, will even make the initial one seem moderate in comparison.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...