Posted by: fvbcdm | July 7, 2017

Feast of Saint Felix of Nantes (7 July 2017)

July 9 is the feast of fourteen martyred priests—one of whom was a Dominican priest.  His name was John.  He was born and raised in the beautiful German city of Cologne on the banks of the Rhine.  As a young man, he joined our order and was sent to do pastoral work in Holland after his ordination, across the nearby border.  This was in the 1500s when Europe was being torn apart by war both political and religious.  The Netherlands were ruled by Spain, but the Northern provinces—which we now call Holland—were in rebellion against the

Spanish government as well as the Church of Rome; whereas, the Southern provinces—which are now called Belgium—remained faithful to both.

The Dutch Protestants arrested these fourteen priests and brought them to trial for remaining loyal to the Church, despite the rebel government’s decree that all Catholics renounce their faith and become Protestant.  They were brought before the local magistrate who tried to win them over by a show of gentleness and kindness.  He told them that they could go free if only they would make two small concessions in their religious beliefs.  Those two small concessions were—(1) that they renounce their communion with the Pope and (2) that they renounce their belief in the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  I don’t know whether the magistrate was actually so ignorant of Catholic doctrine that he thought of those two basic doctrines as a “small matter.”  But, in any case, the priests, thank God, flatly refused to make the two concessions required of them, and so they were all hanged by their captors.

It’s a beautiful and powerful message that these martyrs give to us.  In these days of very weak faith on the part of many, some Catholics are excommunicating themselves by simply giving up the practice of their faith and their loving reception of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and are finding fault with—if not contradicting and disobeying—the teachings of our Supreme Pontiff.  They seem not to know or care that the sacred doctrines which they abandon have been given to us by Christ himself and have been sealed time and again by the blood of martyrs.  Let us thank God for the truths of Divine Revelation and for our faith by which we adhere loyally to those truths.  Let us pray for those who endanger their salvation by abandoning them.  Thank you for allowing God to love you, God bless you.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

 

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