Today we remember the martyrdoms of both St. Wenceslaus and St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions.
St. Wenceslaus is known by his beloved Christmas hymn but unless we know the verses well we easily forget that he was murdered by his own brother in cahoots with his pagan mother! Faithful to the end to his Catholic upbringing through his father, he forgave his murderers as they killed him. St. Wenceslaus in Baltimore is a beautiful historical church.
We also remember St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions. Known also as St. Lawrence Ruiz, he was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on Feb. 18, 1981 and his ceremony was the first one ever held outside of the Vatican.
Both of these men held fast to their faith until the end. What about us? Is there a martyrdom in our future?
Today at Mass, Father remarked that it is unlikely any of us will be slaughtered by a sword or tortured to death. However, he reminded us that we all have a chance – every day – to share in small martyrdoms in union with Christ on the cross. I will admit I shook my head a bit – really??!!
He continued – every time we die to ourselves and chose God’s will over our own is a small martyrdom. Every time we do what is asked, holding back from rolling our eyes or complaining, we can be as these men were. Every day we do what we are called to do in our vocation as spouses, parents, employees or employers with love, kindness and selflessness instead of giving into our selfish desires we are being small martyrs. A smile in response to the rude clerk or a silent prayer said instead of the curse. What a thought! He put into easy words something I had either forgotten or never really took to heart. Dying to self is its own small martyrdom.
I left Mass a bit more encouraged! Now I have new motivation to pick up my own bedroom! Too often, I give into my desire to check email just one more time rather than fold the laundry. I often ignore the mess of my desk and pick up that good book I am reading. Today, I have been reminded of the reason I should be a bit more diligent in my duties.
Choosing to do what I should do over what I want to do has a bit more weight for me now. But, I am left wondering if my kids ask why I am humming “Good King Wenceslaus” as September winds down.