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Monday, November 11, 2013

St Josaphat

"When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” Lk 17:10

How we respond under pressure is often the measure of our faith and courage. St Josaphat, a 17th century martyr, reminds us of this. Committed, as a bishop, to the cause of trying to heal the Great Schism, of reuniting Rome and Constantinople, he first reformed both the local church to which he was assigned and his own life. Though some thought he was too demanding that people live simple lives, his personal witness to frugality and honesty convinced many of his cause, but not all.

Josaphat was killed by a mob, certain that one of their number had been abused and imprisoned by those committed to reconciliation with Rome. After his martyrdom, he as thrown into a nearby river along with a dog that had tried to protect him, but it was the Jewish people who should be held up as faithful to the Torah in defense of Josaphat. When Josaphat and his servants were being beaten and killed, Jews rushed into the courtyard of the bishop and rescued many, and it was Jews who mourned his passing. Because they recognized his goodness before God, the Jews refused to be intimidated or drawn into a fight not of their making while the Catholics for whom Josaphat died hid in fear of their lives.

No doubt Josaphat would have echoed St Luke in the Gospel: I am an unprofitable servant and have done only what I was obliged to do. We ought to follow his example.

Today, stand up for someone whose name is being dragged through the mud.

What are your biggest challenges to live faith despite the cost?

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