The Blood of Martyrs Is the Seed of Chrisitans 11

Looking for intercession?

Today is a great day to exercise our faith in the Communion of Saints and ask for their prayers, as the Pope just canonized 7 new saints this morning. That makes today a powerful day for intercession. Make sure and get your prayer in!

The canonization of Saint Kateri Tekadwitha falls just shortly after the Feast of the North American Martyrs, Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brebeuf, and companions. I found today’s readings for the Mass very appropriate for this occasion: The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.

Isaiah 53:10-11

The Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity. If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.

Saint Kateri, our first Native American Saint, was born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon (now Auriesville, NY) 10 years after the martyrdom of Saint Isaac Jogues, who was tomahawked to death in that same village, for preaching the Gospel to the natives. Two other Jesuit companions of Jogues were also martyred in Ossernenon, St. René Goupil and St. John Lalande.

You can read about these 4 saints’ testimonies here at the website for the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, NY. (A wonderful place for a pilgrimage, by the way. I’ve been there several times).

Today we should remember to thank the Lord for the gift of martyrs and saints. We also have the saints themselves to thank, because due to their heroic witness we share in their faith today. I find this line from today’s Gospel reading particularly applicable, when Jesus said to James and John:

“The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Today’s gift of new saints to the Church gives us the opportunity to reflect on the blessings we’ve received, to thank God for those unmerited gifts, and to ask the saints above to intercede for our faith, that we may follow their example of spreading the seeds of Christianity as heroically as they did.

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  1. The reality of the communion of saints, of that great cloud of witnesses by which we are surrounded, was revealed to me in a deeper way than ever before when they were remembered during intercessory prayers in our church this morning. So this post more than strikes a chord with me this Sunday afternoon! God bless!

  2. Not to be picky or anything, Biltrix, but St. Kateri lived the last few years of her life in the village of Kahnawake, north of Montreal, Canada, which is where she lived until she died. In that sense, she truly is a North American Saint.

  3. ”Today we should remember to thank the Lord for the gift of martyrs and saints. We also have the saints themselves to thank, because due to their heroic witness we share in their faith today.” Amen. A great post.

  4. Only to have the “courage,” “stength,” “faith” and “love” our great Saints and Martyrs have/had. Great post and God Bless, SR

    • Thanks, SR! I was always humbled by the North American Martyrs heroic sacrifice beyond any call of duty. Of course, they did not see their call to serve Christ in any other way. Saint Kateri is always had a place in my heart for her love, purity, and heroic sacrifice. It is not a coincidence that the most concentrated population of Catholics in North america is with in a 500 mile radius of where Auriesville. If they are mostly nominally or culturally Catholic now, we need to follow their example and reevangelize this part of the world where they lived and died and spilt their blood for the faith.

      God bless!

    • Thanks for your question, Jefferson. Yours is one of those questions that I think might involve a fair amount of discussion in order to suit it justly. To begin with, you really asked two questions, one general and one much more specific. To begin to answer the first part of your question, I’d like to share something I found just today by coincidence, while searching for information on Blessed John Paul II’s canonization process:

      “By the Rite of Canonization the Supreme Pontiff, by an act which is protected from error by the Holy Spirit, elevates a person to the universal veneration of the Church. By canonization the Pope does not make the person a saint. Rather, he declares that the person is with God and is an example of following Christ worthy of imitation by the faithful. A Mass, Divine Office and other acts of veneration, may now be offered throughout the universal Church.

      If the saint has some universal appeal he may be added to the general calendar of the Church as a Memorial or Optional Memorial. If the appeal is localized to a region of the world, a particular nation, or a particular religious institute, the saint may be added to the particular calendars of those nations or institutes, or celebrated by the clergy and faithful with a devotion to the saint with a votive Mass or Office.” — (source — the full article is worth reading)

      Regarding the “money spent” question, that is another whole can of worms. I frequently find people who are scandalized by money issues in the Church, e.g., the amount of money spent on a church building, cathedral, or basilica and why all the money spent on the decor was not given to the poor instead. That is a tough question to answer. I think we can start with a two pronged approach.

      First, when there is a large investment put into some Catholic project, such as a ceremony or a architectural project, what is the ultimate purpose of the end project? It is for the glory of God and for the people of God. In both cases for the sake of worship, our highest duty and privilege.

      Second, and following from the first, these investments should neither detract from or exonerate us from our duty to serve the poor. Christ insistently preached love and care for the poor and sick, and made it clear that it is our obligation as Christians to serve them. The Church reaffirms Christ’s mandate by specifying in its social teaching the underlying principle of our “Preferential Option for the Poor and Suffering.”

      I think it is easy to look at one instance (money invested on large projects that do not immediately alleviate suffering and poverty) and compare it to the real needs of poor people that those investments could have served, and then think that money was wasted rather than given to the poor.

      I personally believe we need to separate the issues and try to understand how the one does not detract from the other, and in fact could and should bring more people to give proper attention to both, in their respective regards. We can do this by focusing first on the essential, which is to Glorify God and serve the people of God.

      As the deacon Saint Lawrence said of the poor, “These are the treasures of the Church.” I believe we can serve them better by bringing more people into the Church who have the means and funds to support programs that serve the poor. To do that, we first need to draw them into the Church and get them active; then appeal to their good Christian conscience and present them with the obligation to help others in need.

      I say this because I have seen how it works sometimes. A man or woman of means can be moved to give aid once they are convinced that they can do so effectively and for the right purpose. Many times this involves a conversion process, because people are often jaded by the multitude of pleas that come to them on a daily basis.

      Now, canonization is, in part, about the call to holiness; therefore, it is a call to conversion. When this call resonates in the soul, the spark of conversion starts to warm the soul. What ensues afterward is the work of the Holy Spirit, encouraging the soul to do great things for Christ.

      Many of the things that seem to be superficial and less than necessary externals are in fact outward signs or invocations to a deeper richer mission within the mystical body of the Church.

      My friend, I did not mean to get involved in such a long answer. But like I said, your question does not deserve a short answer and I probably did not satisfy it completely with everything I said here. But I hope it’s a start.

      Thanks again, Jefferson, and God bless!

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