To you, Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, we commend our prayers and our needs in these difficult times.
As you laid down your lives for Christ and His Church, we ask that we may emulate your sacrifice in our daily lives, living as true and humble disciples of Christ.
May His Gospel so penetrate our minds and hearts that we may become what He urges us to be: salt of the earth and light of the world, making Him present through holy lives to the men and women of our time.
Sustain us with your loving presence, be our companions on our earthly journey.
Defend us in moments of trial, console us in sorrows and remind us of that joy which Christ implants into the souls of His devoted servants.
Intercede that we may truly be servants of mercy and reconciliation.
Watch over us and guide us in our Christian lives so one day we may merit to be with you in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.
Today's saints are the priests Edmund Gennings and Polydore Plasden, who were executed on December 10, 1591. Fr John Hogan, a CTS author, has prepared reflections for each day. Since today is Sunday, our weekly Holy Day of Obligation, this reflection on the Holy Mass and the priesthood is most appropriate:
It was as he was saying Holy Mass for the faithful, assisted by his brother priest, St Polydore, that St Edmund was arrested. Clothed in the sacred vestments, the Holy Sacrifice hurriedly completed, he was led out to captivity and martyrdom. These two dedicated priests, Edmund and Polydore, would offer their bodies as a sacrifice in union with the Masses they had offered in their priestly ministry. It is the call of a priest to offer gift and sacrifice (Heb 8:3), to lay down his life for his brothers and sisters in imitation of the Divine Master, there is no greater love (Jn 15:13). The mystery of a priest’s suffering and martyrdom is immersed in the mystery of his offering the holy Eucharist.
The martyrs rejoiced in the Holy Mass – it was their strength and joy in the midst of affliction. The graces and blessings which emanated from the Eucharist sustained them and helped them endure their sufferings, as it revealed the significance of their martyrdom. Like them, may we never take this Sacrifice for granted, but rather seek enter more deeply into it; to lose ourselves in the great mystery that is being unveiled before us so we may find ourselves again in our union with the Eucharistic Lord.