“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14)
We share Eugene’s joy and we are filled with gratitude for the beatification our brother Oblates who were martyred in Spain. We are also called to renew our commitment. Religious life, the desire to live the baptismal call in a radical way, is a kind of successor to the period of martyrdom in the early Church. Our consecrated life, inspired in the witness of the first martyrs, is a decision to follow in radical way the Lord Jesus through the vows and in community. The beatification of the Oblate Martyrs of Spain demands that we choose again to live the root of our consecration by handing over our lives to follow Jesus.
It is precisely for this reason that the last General Chapter called us to conversion. This is the great challenge and the demand that the beatification of the Spanish Oblate Martyrs brings us. As we read about the generous sacrifice of their lives, we return to the roots of our vocation and we can’t tolerate living a life that is “watered down”. I pray that by the witness of the martyrial oblation of the Blessed Oblate Martyrs of Spain we will be impassioned to live radically the following of Jesus. I ask them to intercede so that the Spirit will set us on fire as missionaries to the poor in the context of our reality with the complex challenges we face today.
A strong and deep faith fueled the missionary dreams of the Oblate Martyrs of Spain and attracted them to offer their lives to preach the Gospel to the poor in Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and the Southwest U.S. We stand in awe of their capacity to give themselves to the Father in obedience even unto death, an ultimately selfless act for the love of the people they did not yet know in the missions they hoped to serve. In the midst of these Oblate Martyrs there is also is a lay man who was a husband and father. I believe it is a sign of the Oblate charism, “always close to the people we serve” that in this beatification of Oblate Martyrs there is a lay person among the Oblates. This is another motive for which we rejoice.
Saint Eugene is all smiles for this celebration. We too feel pride and joy for the faithfulness and radical love of the Oblate Martyrs of Spain. We sing with Mary Immaculate, Mother of Apostles and Martyrs, her Song of Praise for this great day: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”