….so says Pope Paul VI and Msgr Bernard Powers
Msgr had a stirring homily during Mass this morning on the Feast of St. Inocencio – our Passionist Martyr. You are probably familiar with Msgr’s way of writing by now…his homilies are like poetry.
Feast of Saint Inocencio
Martyred October 9, 1934
Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Inocencio
an occasion to reflect upon martyrdom and religious life.
Pope Paul VI makes us aware of the connection
between martyrdom and religious life.
In his Apostolic Letter on Religious Life
he says that the Holy Spirit
places side by side
the heroic confession of the martyrs
and the consecrated life of the religious.
Both are a manifestation of the primacy of the love of God.
Both are a manifestation of spiritual generosity.
Martyrdom is a proclamation of the Gospel
Religious life is a proclamation of the Gospel
in the living of the Evangelical councils.
Martyrdom unites one in dying with the Crucified Christ.
Religious life unites on in living with the Crucified Christ.
The martyr is one with Christ in surrender…
the religious is one with Christ in choice.
Both are the readiness to do God’s will.
Both are generous acts of love.
“Unless the grain of wheat fall to the ground and die
it remains just a grain of wheat.
But if it die, it will bear abundant fruit.”
St. Augustine says of the martyr:
“The Church everywhere flourishes
through the glorious deeds of the martyrs”.
Pope Paul VI says of the Religious:
“The Church could not do without
these exceptional witnesses
of the transcendence of the love of Christ.
The reading for the Feast of St. Stephen
speaks of martyrdom as an act of love.
Love was Stephens’ weapon…
Love was Inocencio’s weapon.
His love for the poor…his love for the Church…
His love for the priesthood…
his love for the Passionist life.
You who are the Religious
have the same gift from God…the gift of love…
Your love for the church…
your love for the Crucified Christ…
Your love for all mankind in praying for salvation.
“Love is the source of all good things…
it is the way that leads to heaven”…
to union with Christ…to dying with Christ.
Love led St. Inocencio to martyrdom.
Love led you to religious life….
both are union with God.
Both are an honor to God.
One in a brief moment of dying with Christ.
One in a lifetime of living with Christ.
Msgr. Bernard Powers
*Image of the Passion sign from our Passionist Nuns in Korea