P. Jacques Hamel (1930-2016).
Requiescat in pace.
I suppose we all wonder from time to time as the cause and time of our own death. When Fr. Jacques awakened this morning he rose to celebrate the Holy Eucharist for his people at Saint Etienne. After 58 years of presiding at the table of the Lord in the midst of the Holy Mysteries, there was little that would have surprised him. However, this morning at this mass he was attacked at the altar by evil men who mixed his blood with the blood of Christ, the cup of salvation. Today, the faithful 84-year-old servant of Christ laid down his life for his faith. He is the most recent martyr for the sake of Christ. God grant us grace to follow his example.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.
Ninety-eight years ago yesterday, Elizabeth Feodorovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, sister of Alexandra, the last Empress was hurled into a mine shaft by the Bolsheviks. Elizabeth Pray for us.
Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna has confirmed last night, that the Salesian priest, Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday. Father Tom was with the Sisters of Mother Teresa who were killed in Yemen. May he Rest in Peace. Source Salzburg.com/F
In hope, in spite of the facts.
March 1, 2015
God called Abraham to follow him to the land of Canaan where God will make Abraham the father of a great nation. He went.
“God promised him a covenant – a contract – God will, according to the contract, make Abraham, as he will be known, the ancestor of a multitude, not of people, but a multitude of nations. God will make Sarah, as she will be known, the mother of nations.
Abraham was almost a hundred & Sarah almost 90.
Paul writes to the Christians in Rome:
Romans 4:13 [page 118 NRSV] 13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on GRACE
[Grace is the constant availability of abundance with the question always being am I open to it or not. Parker Palmer]
…and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham [not genetics but faith] (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’
19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced [persuaded] that God was able to do what he had promised. Not wishful thinking – happy place self-created magical wishful thinking but the trustworthiness of the one in whom we have placed our faith 22Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ [Accounted, marked on his account – accounting term]
23Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
JESUS; “Who, do you say that I am?”
PETER: Messiah – Son of God
Jesus began to say to his disciples what he would undergo in Jerusalem that he would go there and suffer, be rejected, killed and rise. Mark records that,”he said this plainly”. Peter could not bear hearing this so he took Jesus aside and said, “Now don’t you go talking like that. It’s morbid.”
Peter is horrified on at least two levels.
I perceive that you & I are very much like Peter.
In America & the West we are at the end of an amazing ride, a ride that has gone on for over a century. Never in human history has so much been available to so many, continued and sustained for such a long time. As Immersed as I was in the 20th century, I thought that the word “Modern” simply meant new, improved, progressive, innovative, and inexorable even. Imagine my vertigo when I was introduced to the post-modern era. All that looked shiny and inevitable, you know modern, is now rusty, creaky, longer holding the promise upon which our culture relied. The greatest modern notion, the myth of inevitable progress, has failed us.
As Richard Rohr says, “Our age has come to expect satisfaction. We have grown up in an absolutely unique period when having and possessing and accomplishing have been real options. They have given us an illusion of fulfillment and an even more dangerous illusion that we have a right to expect fulfillment – fulfillment now – as long as we are clever enough, quick enough, and pray or work hard enough for our goals.”
We don’t want to hear that. It can’t be true.
And Jesus tells us like he told Peter, “Get behind me Satan!”
Why, because this is not how one follows Jesus!
Rohr continues, “We believe that we are energized by the bird in the hand; but believe it or not, the word of God and the history of those who have struggled with that word would seem to tell us that we are, in fact, energized much more by the bird in the bush. God’s people are led forward by promises. It is promises, with all their daring and risk, at empower the people of God.”
Beloved satisfaction is no longer immediate.
Beloved we are not entitled to satisfaction.
Beloved we have lived in illusion that we are entitled to immediate satisfaction.
Jesus promised his followers only three things that they would be absurdly happy, entirely free and always in trouble.
ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya (Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians (Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim?
Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian citizen (darker skin shown in picture) [I believe his name is Samuel Alham Wilson] Who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When the terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied,
“Their God is my God”
so the terrorist beheaded him also.
What if Samuel Wilson was imprisoned with 20 of us?
Would he have wanted what we have been given in Christ Jesus?
Do we even know what we have in Christ Jesus?
When Jesus said the way of the cross is the way of life, he wasn’t kidding. He meant it literally.
To him, be glory and may the souls of the martyrs of Libya and of all the faithful, rest in peace.
Those with a death wish have an advantage over those who have a life.
The term “True Believer” is a common expression in American speech. What most people do not reaize is that the turm comes from a book of that titile. Eric Hoffer published this study of the nature of mass movements in 1951 (the year of my birth).
Given the rise of increasingly violent groups fueled by pathological ideology, Hoffer tells us that the content of the ideology is less important than the process of fanaticism. This is a distinction that we really must learn. It is not really about Islam, though the ideology in this case is Islamic. ISIS’s fighters, having sucumbed to ideology do not fear death. Actually dying is martyrdom for these young men. Their opponents fight to protect their families. Those with a death wish have an advantage over those who have a life. Thus in the short run evil has an edge. In time, God willing, the rest of us will rise up and put an end to this most recent eruption of a chronic infection of a will to power.
Fundamentalism longs for a golden age that in fact never existed. Deep belief in fantasy promotes delusian. Delusion demands not faith, but rather a kind of “sccumbing” that produces fanatics. I also recommend Carl Jung’s insights in the last chapter of his book, Memories, Dreams and Reflections, where he lays out the dangers of succumbing to or being addicted to anything.
I highly recomend Eric Hoffer’s classic and the insights of Carl Jung on fanaticsim.
Sister Constance of the Order of Saint Mary
The entrance to the mine shaft at Alapayevsk where the Grand Duchess Sister Elizabeth was thrown to her death accompanied by four young Romanov men and Sister Barbara. It is now a place of pilgrimage.
Elizabeth, New Martyr, pray for us.