Oct. 19: Saints JOHN DE BRÉBEUF AND ISAAC JOGUES, Priests and Companions, Martyrs of Canada.
Saints JOHN DE BRÉBEUF AND ISAAC JOGUES and companion martyrs were eight Jesuit missionaries sent from France to North America. Sts. John (1593-1649) and Isaac (1607-1646) were martyred after converting many thousands of Native Americans. Throughout their ordeals, these missionaries exhibited undying fortitude and charity in the face of imprisonment and torture.
May I die only for you, Jesus, who willingly died for me
From the spiritual diaries of St John de Brébeuf
For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.
Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, what can I give you in return for all the favours you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name. I vow before your eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, before your most holy Mother and her most chaste spouse, before the angels, apostles and martyrs, before my blessed fathers Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier – in truth I vow to you, Jesus my Saviour, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.
I bind myself in this way so that for the rest of my life I will have neither permission nor freedom to refuse opportunities of dying and shedding my blood for you, unless at a particular juncture I should consider it more suitable for your glory to act otherwise at that time. Further, I bind myself to this so that, on receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit. For this reason, my beloved Jesus, and because of the surging joy which moves me, here and now I offer my blood and body and life. May I die only for you, if you will grant me this grace, since you willingly died for me. Let me so live that you may grant me the gift of such a happy death. In this way, my God and Saviour, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it. My God, even if all the brutal tortures which prisoners in this region must endure should fall on me, I offer myself most willingly to them and I alone shall suffer them all.
O God, who chose to manifest the blessed hope of your eternal kingdom by the toil of Saints John de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions and by the shedding of their blood, grant graciously that, through their intercession, the faith of Christians may be strengthened day by day. Through our Lord.
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