I appreciate that, today, on a daily basis, priests and their flock members are being assassinated, murdered and persecuted.
But these crimes are carried out almost entirely by Muslim fanatics who abhor anything Christian.
They are dying for their faith, not for the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.
Back in the 16th and 17th centuries in
things were different.
Photo: English Martyrs Blog
Again, priests were being hanged, drawn and quartered for their faith but, in addition, they were overwhelmingly dying because of their adherence to the Latin Mass.
It was the Mass that was the focal point for their sufferings.
So much so that every priest that set foot on the scaffold was, in essence, ascending to the altar and
was about to be replayed again in a bloody fashion.
Why was this?
Because, of course, the Latin Mass is the most complete liturgical devotion of the Catholic Faith.
It incorporates all the essentials necessary for our belief to grow and for our soul to be imbued with grace; it contains penitence, repentance, forgiveness, elements of the life of Christ and, finally, the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on our behalf and then His resurrection from the dead.
It is, in short, a Mass worth dying for.
Today, May 29th is the feastday of Blessed Richard Thirkell or Thirkeld. He was a priest in the North of England who, after being ordained exclaimed:
“God alone knows how great a gift this is that hath been conferred on me this day”
And from an extract on this saint……
Holy Mass was his constant thought, and it produced in his soul such daily increase of Divine love and heavenly courage that he desired nothing more than, in return for what Christ had done for him, to shed also his blood in Christ and for Christ.
For eight whole years his prayers were that he might one day lay down his life for his faith, and this was at length granted him.
He was apprehended and tried at
. He appeared at the
bar a venerable old man in his priest’s cassock, and acknowledged that he was a
priest and had performed priestly functions. York
He was found guilty and spent the night instructing the criminals and preparing them for death.
On entering the court the next morning he publicly blessed four Catholic prisoners there present, and a brave old woman who knelt to receive it defended his actions by saying that as a minister of Christ he had the power to bless in His name.
He received the sentence of death with great joy, and so finished his course,
, May 29, 1583. York
Blessed Richard – Ora pro nobis
Bl Richard Thirkell’s address to his fellow prisoners
"If the judges and commissioners have seized unjustly your goods, Christ your King will grant you to receive in this world a hundred-fold for every farthing you have lost, and in the world to come eternal life and bliss that shall never know an end. If wicked gaolers use force and cruelty, continually annoy and torment, frequently examine and persecute you, let not all these things cause you the least trouble of mind or make you remiss in the divine service. You will see that Christ will visit you the more quickly, that He will give you greater consolations day by day, and will make His throne in your hearts with the more frequency and the more pleasure. Therefore be of good cheer, beloved, clap with your hands, yea, let every member of your bodies exult with joy, in that you have a cause so noble, Christ for your Captain, the Holy Ghost for your Comforter, and for your advocates and defenders the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels, the Holy Apostles, the Martyrs, the Confessors, the Virgins, the blood of your fathers so freshly spilt which cries aloud to Heaven to obtain for you perseverance to the end."