Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How many lives to give? St Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and the Forty Martrys of England and Wales

I am proposing that the Anglican Use group in the Philippines have for one of its patrons St Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila. St Lorenzo Ruiz was a layman, married,a catechist and an acolyte. He served the Parish of the Most Holy Rosary in Binondo, Manila but was accused of killing a Spaniard. Thus he set out with Dominican missionaries to Japan in 1636 to escape these accusations. St Lorenzo is the patron saint of Filipinos overseas.

St Lorenzo and the 40 English and Welsh martyrs lived in the same century long period of the Reformation and the counter Reformation which impelled the Catholic Church to go on evangelizing Asia and the Americas. This was of course under the patronage of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs. St Lorenzo reached Japan with his companions but was immediately arrested for Japan by then banned Catholic Christianity and ended the "Christian Century" of Japan. Adherence to Christianity was treasonous.

 The 40 Martyrs lived in a time when Catholicism was banned and adherence to the faith was treason. The Reformation almost ended the millennium long history of the Catholic Church in England.

In a sense Japan and England were in the same boat. They were advanced societies with  magnificent cultures and viewed Catholicism as a threat to their existence. The Catholics were made to suffer the torture of the rack, quartering and being hung.

St Lorenzo Ruiz and some of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales when brought to the site of martyrdom  said almost the same thing.

St Lorenzo of Manila: "If I had a thousand lives, all of them I offer to Him"

St Anne Line of England:  "I am condemned to die for harbouring a Catholic priest and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand"

St Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel (upon being offered by Queen Elizabeth I that for him to attend Anglican services he will regain his freedom):"Tell Her Majesty, if my religion be the cause for which I suffer, sorry I am that I have but one life to lose."

These martyrs were did not hesitate to give their lives even for a thousand times. Thus they continue to inspire.

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