December 15. On This Day John Oldcastle…
On December 15, 1418 after having eluded church authorities for years, John Oldcastle was taken to Smithfield in London, and there he was hung by the middle in chains until he was consumed alive in the fire. Witness testimony say that while he hung there he praised the name of God until he died.
Obviously he was prepared to die for Christ and the Gospel. This makes me wonder, how prepared am I to die for the Gospel? Have I prepared those to whom I ministered to to die for Christ? Reflecting on this moment certainly brings me closer to facing the reality of my baptismal calling. After all, when I accepted Christ, I accepted the cross and with the cross comes sacrifice.
This also makes me think of my brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in many parts of the world. They face this reality daily. I am tempted to say that I am blessed for not having to endure what they endure, but am I really better off? I mean, they suffer greatly, but their focus is completely on Christ. I do not suffer as they do, but my eyes are more than often all over the place.
Merciful Jesus, have mercy on our persecuted brethren. Fill their hearts with complete joy and courage, and more importantly with perfect love for you and those who persecute them. Build and prepare us who have never had to endure as they do, that when the time comes, we will be able to withstand and accept whatever the suffering may be, for the glory and honor of your name. Sacred Heart of Jesus, convert our hearts into the image of our hearts. In your name we pray Lord Christ. Amen.