Monday, February 16, 2015

martyrs: their blood confesses Christ

winter light in my back yard

I have spent much of the last few weeks editing my latest book, the biography of Father Stanley Rother, the courageous Oklahoma priest who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981 while ministering the Tz'utujil indigenous community of Santiago Atitlán.

I've written several blogs about Father Stanley before -- read more here and also here. Or check out the article I wrote for Our Sunday Visitor newspaper, here.

The good news is that the manuscript has a publisher--and I am thrilled that it's found such a good home for publication! I'll announce more details on that soon.

Yet as I continue to work on the manuscript edits, I am deeply moved by the powerful and striking reality of martyrdom, dying for one's faith--especially in light of Christians being persecuted and killed for their faith today, like the 21 Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS in Libya this weekend.

"Their blood confesses Christ" -- and challenges me to take the name Christian seriously. Their story, like the story of Father Stanley Rother, becomes a witness and a call to action.

A Vatican commission recently declared that Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was killed in odium fidei, Latin for "in hatred of the faith."

We wait for a similar official announcement regarding the martyrdom of Oklahoma's Father Stanley Rother, who died a year after Archbishop Romero.

As Pope Francis said in relation to Romero's announcement, "What I would like is a clarification about martyrdom in odium fidei, whether it can occur either for having confessed the Creed or for having done the works which Jesus commands with regard to one's neighbor... And this is a task for the theologians."

May it be so -- and may it be soon!

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NOTE: It seems impossible that Lent is two days away. Am I the only one not ready?

Here's something to help you... message me on FB, Twitter, or here on my blog, for a chance to win one of two of Magnificat Magazine's Lenten companion app!