The martyrs of the twentieth century died loving, forgiving and thus showed that the seed of the Gospel gives life and produces fruits that we can contemplate today.

November 12, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

Last October 16, 127 martyrs of the religious persecution in Spain between 1936 and 1939 were raised to the altars. It was in the Cathedral of Cordoba and among them were 19 linked to the Archdiocese of Merida-Badajoz, 10 of whom were born in towns of this archdiocese and 9 others were martyred in towns of the province of Badajoz that then belonged to the diocese of Cordoba.

I had the opportunity to take part in this celebration, which revealed two great things: the grace that God gives to the baptized to undergo great trials and the fidelity of many of our brothers and sisters, which even leads them to give their lives for the Lord.

Last Sunday, the 7th, we celebrated a Eucharist of thanksgiving in the parish of Castuera, one of the towns where these martyrs were born. During the Mass we could feel the closeness that the People of God feel towards those priests who have exercised the priestly ministry among us, who have lived in our towns, walked our streets, even with relatives still among us.

The prophetic words of Revelation can be applied to them: "they come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb." They fulfilled in their lives generosity and trust in God to the extreme. They were faithful to their vocation to follow the Lamb to the summit of sacrifice, where their Lord awaited them. Faced with the possibility of death, they preferred to be loyal and to show, with their lives, their love for God and their neighbor in order to live, while dying, in a happy eternity. This is what we believe; this is what we hope for, founded on the Lord's promise.  

"Love is stronger than death," says Sacred Scripture. They died loving, forgiving, without hatred or rancor, and thus, they showed that the seed of the Gospel gives life and produces fruits; fruits that we can contemplate today. All of them felt the littleness of their weaknesses, they knew they were nothing... but that weakness, that poverty... I am nothing, I have nothing...led them to affirm with St. Paul: "it is not me, it is Christ who lives in me"and the fear turned into courage, and the lack of exit into hope and the darkness of the outcome became transparent to see the crucified Lord, full of light and life, risen. It is Easter, "Mara-na-ta", the Lord is coming. 

"Jesus could let Himself be killed for love, but in this very way He destroyed the definitive character of death, because in Him the definitive character of Life was present. He was one with the indestructible Life in such a way that it springs forth again through death", Benedict XVI said. 

These are the new Blesseds who join the long list of the Church's martyrology: living in the Lord, lights on the way, hopes fulfilled and longings fulfilled for the fullness of the eternal joy of the new heavens and the new earth watered with their blood, united to that of their Lord.

They were servants of that Church born of the Savior's open side. In the Church, it is not what we men do that is important, but what God our Lord does: "What is important is not what we do, but what God our Lord does.or look on our sins, but on the faith of your Church".we say at Holy Mass, where the Lord returns each day with his love.having loved his own, I love them to the end". 

The authorCelso Morga

Archbishop of the Diocese of Mérida Badajoz

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