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Monday, April 28, 2008

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St. Peter Chanel
St. Louis Mary de Montfort

Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149
John 15:26—16:4

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the spirit of martyrdom

"He will bear witness on My behalf. You must bear witness as well." —John 15:26-27

As we near the end of the fifty-day Easter season, we look forward to receiving the Holy Spirit in a new way this Pentecost. When the Spirit comes, He will bear witness for Jesus. He will expect us to bear witness as well (see Acts 1:8).

When we witness for Jesus, we will lead many to Christ and transform the world. However, not everyone will accept our witness. Some will reject Jesus and reject us. Some will even persecute us by expelling us from our churches and putting us to death (Jn 16:2). In doing this, they will claim to be serving God (Jn 16:2). Thus, the word in Greek for "witness," which originally meant "someone who testifies in court," came to be the word for "martyr." So when we receive the Holy Spirit, we become witnesses, that is, martyrs.

A typical Christian might want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but does not want to be a martyr. However, the two go together. The cost of Pentecost is the cross of martyrdom. We will refuse or stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19) unless we accept martyrdom. Decide to be a martyr-witness. Receive the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:  Father, may I rejoice in the privilege of suffering for the gospel (see Phil 1:29; Col 1:24).

Promise:  "After she and her household had been baptized, she extended us an invitation: 'If you are convinced that I believe in the Lord, come and stay at my house.' She managed to prevail on us." —Acts 16:15

Praise:  St. Louis daily lived a life of martyrdom as he chose to teach the roughest children in Paris and was confronted with great opposition.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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