For us Capuchins today is the feast of those five of our brothers beatified among the martyrs of the Nazi persecution. Five years ago, this day was the occasion of one of the most remarkable experiences of my whole religious life. Check it out here.
Offering Mass on the days of martyrs becomes increasingly striking for me. Somehow it all comes together in a particularly vivid way. The Mass begins and ends with my kissing some martyr's relics in the altar. Jesus offers his broken body to the Father, a single and perfect sacrifice which the Mass extends through time and space. We receive the broken Body and the Precious Blood into our bodies, that we might not despair in the brokenness of selfishness and sin, but have it transformed into the brokenness of compassion and humility.
We are all victims of the violence and selfishness of this world. It beats on us from without and lives within us as the still-healing wound left by original sin. To be a Christian, to confess Christ crucified as the salvation of the world, means to receive this evil in such a way as to refuse to pass it on to others. To be the broken body of Christ we proclaim ourselves to be at Mass means accepting the martyrdom of making ourselves into last stops for the cycles of violence of this world.