Sunday, 6 May 2012

The English Martyrs

Last Friday we celebrated the feast of some absolutely extraordinary people. People who stood up in the face of persecution, with the threat of imprisonment, torture and violent death hanging over them, and fearlessly practiced their faith. They are a source of inspiration and, more importantly, a source of strength for each and every one of us. Their witness is not confined to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but speaks to us, time and again, of the love of Christ. Their willingness to endure some of the most gruesome of fates is a profound proclamation of their love for Jesus and His Church, a direct response to His sacrifice for us upon the cross.

At Mass on Friday Fr. Aaron reminded us of this and asked us all to think if we too would be prepared to undergo a similar fate for the sake of our faith. This is a challenging and uncomfortable question and, for those of us living in the UK, one we will probably never have to answer. But the fact is (and, for me at least, this was underlined by today's second collection for Aid to the Church in Need) that the kind of persecution that these holy martyrs suffered during the reformation is still going on today in many parts of the world. In so many places people are harassed, forced to live in poverty, arrested and imprisoned, mentally and physically abused, tortured and killed for simply being Christian. In trying to live out the life that Jesus showed us, to love God and our neighbour as ourselves, they are disgracefully treated, degraded and discarded just as those martyrs a few hundred years ago. Often in the light of this suffering we feel rather helpless, we don't know how to respond, how to help those around the world who need our support so very much. As many will have done today there are charities like ACN whose mission it is to do what we as individuals cannot. But the most important tool we have at our disposal is prayer. Even though it may seem like it makes little or no difference as this suffering continues to happen over and over again it has a huge impact on the people who are in those situations. Just as when one part of the Body of Christ suffers we all suffer with it equally when one part offers encouragement the whole Body reaps the benefits. We can draw strength from the witness of the English Martyrs and our brothers and sisters all over the world can profit greatly from our prayers. So why not join me in praying the Litany of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales for all Christians suffering all over the world?

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy
Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us!
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us
God the Father in Heaven, Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us
Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, Pray for us
Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us
St. John Houghton, Pray for us
St. Richard Reynolds, Pray for us
St. Augustine Webster, Pray for us
St. Robert Lawrence, Pray for us
St. John Stone, Pray for us
St. Cuthbert Mayne, Pray for us
St. Edmund Campion, Pray for us
St. Ralph Sherwin, Pray for us
St. Alexander Briant, Pray for us
St. John Payne, Pray for us
St. Luke Kirby, Pray for us
St. Richard Gwyn, Pray for us
St. Margaret Clitherow, Pray for us.
St. Margaret Ward, Pray for us
St. Edmund Gennings, Pray for us
St. Swithun Wells, Pray for us
St. Polydore Plasden, Pray for us
St. Eustace White, Pray for us
St. John Boste, Pray for us
St. Robert Southwell, Pray for us

Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, Pray for us!
St. Henry Walpole, Pray for us
St. Philip Howard, Pray for us
St. John Jones, Pray for us
St. John Rigby, Pray for us
St. Anne Line, Pray for us
St. Nicholas Owen, Pray for us
St. Thomas Garnet, Pray for us
St. John Roberts, Pray for us
St. John Almond, Pray for us
St. Edmund Arrowsmith, Pray for us
St. Ambrose Barlow, Pray for us
St. Alban Roe, Pray for us
St. Henry Morse, Pray for us
St. John Southworth, Pray for us
St. John Plessington, Pray for us
St. Philip Evans, Pray for us
St. John Lloyd, Pray for us
St. John Wall, Pray for us
St. John Kemble, Pray for us
St. David Lewis, Pray for us

Let us pray. Oh God, in whom there is no change or shadow of alteration, you gave courage to the Holy Martyrs. Grant unto us, we beseech you, through their intercession, the grace to always value the Holy Mass. May we be strengthened to serve you in imitation of the courage of these Holy Martyrs. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this encouraging post - it's great to learn of so many previously unknown saints.


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