July 27, 2016

Fr. Jacques Hamel

Of course we find ourselves yesterday and today praying for Fr. Jacques, for his eternal rest and in thanksgiving for his vocation and ministry and for the eternal reward of his labors and witness. Nor do we forget to pray for the other hostage who was hurt. And we pray for the men who murdered Fr. Jacques, that they may find the rest that perhaps they didn't know in this life, that they may find  a truer face of the merciful God than perhaps they had known.

Fr. Jacques would have begun the Mass, leading the people in the prayer of the Sacrifice as he had done thousands of times before. Could he have known as he did so on a proverbially plain Tuesday of Ordinary Time that he would be brutally murdered before it was over? And yet everything I've read about him says that he had lived as to prepare for such a moment, in generosity and priestly dedication.

We all have this call before us. In this world, increasing hostile to the God revealed in Jesus Christ, there will be more martyrs in the traditional sense. But all of us who are believers will face some kind of martyrdom, some invitation to suffer, to be limited, cut short or cut out for the sake of the Gospel, whether by those committed to religion that doesn't realize it has been delivered from the blood-drinking gods of human invention by the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ or by those whose secularism becomes intolerant and dogmatic--as it must, for it has nothing to stand on but its self-referential insistence on its own truth, even as it often denies that there is even such a thing as 'truth.'

It is our task to be prepared for this moment, that we also may be found faithful. The Lord himself invites us to witness. The world needs it desperately, for it has no idea how to respond to the violence. It has no idea how to respond because it has lost any place from which to speak or reason, any foundation on which to stand. That foundation, that place to begin, can only be the living God, the self-emptying God revealed in Jesus Christ, and the more the world forgets him, its own Creator, Source, and Ground, the more God himself will look for martyrs.


Louis M said...

Homerun Father! Thank you

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

Jean-Paul Viaud said...

Very good Father. Did you know that, in the early 1960's, Fr. Jacques Hamel was a soldier during the Algerian independance war. He was proposed an officer's commission but refused and remained a somple private. Reason: so as not to be obliged to give orders to kill other men. During the war, his platoon was embushed at an Oasis. All soldiers were killed by the rebels and he asked God "Why did you let me live?". He suffered from that undeserved, self inflicted culpability and in return dedicated his life to his priesthood. He has found his answer. He survived the ambush so that he may give his life when Humanity needed it, as a true martyr of the faith for a World that needs love, not hatred. God's ways are mysterious. The fact that his killers were young french born Algerians is an act of divine Providence. My uncle fought in that war, in the Foreign Legion, where horrible things happened on both sides. Since then hatred of Arabs is deeply rooted but comes from Satan. Father Jacques died pushing with his feet the two killers, yelling "Vas-t-en Satan!", 2 times. He was then forced to kneel and beheaded as St-John was, and as St-John, his martyrdom his a precursary sign to the return of God. He lowered himself to the extreme, so that his Lord and Savior's love and mercy could be glorified.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the comment and information!