Memorial of Saints Edmund Campion, Robert Southwell and their companions
Jesus emphasizes the importance of hearing his word. The one who follows His words is like a builder who builds his house on the solid foundation of rock instead of the dangerous foundation of sand. (Mt 7:24-27) Today’s reading from Isaiah and psalm contrast following God and taking refuge in His word with someone who instead trusts in man and in earthly rulers. At times there are earthly ordinances which conflict with the divine law of charity. In our own time we may think of legislation and policies which prevent the hope of life from being offered to those not yet born or those fleeing from war torn homelands. Such laws do not conform to the love God bears towards us and to which He calls us.
St. Edmund Campion and other English Jesuits of the 16th century responded to the Lord’s call to preach the Catholic faith, even in the face of unjust laws against their freedom to so preach. St. Edmund and his companions showed that they were ready for the coming of the Lord, that they were ready to meet Him as they suffered martyrdom, because they knew well the truth of the psalm, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” (Ps 118:9)
Knowing also the painful consequences of taking refuge in the Lord, Edmund wrote that he and the other Jesuits were ready to embrace all such consequences out of love for their English brethren. He wrote, “…we have made a league…cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair of your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.” Let us ask God for the kind of love for our neighbor that He gave to St. Edmund. May this desire to share the faith because of love increase our desire for the coming of the Lord into our lives and the lives of those around us.
December 1st, 2016