Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Prayer of Saint John de Brebeuf (1593-1649)

Jesus, my Lord and Savior, what can I give you in return for all the favors you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name. I vow before your eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, before your most holy Mother and her most chaste spouse, before the angels, apostles and martyrs, before my blessed fathers Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier–in truth, I vow to you, Jesus my Savior, that as far as I have the strength, I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if someday you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant...My beloved Jesus, here and now I offer my body and blood and life. May I die only for you, if you will grant me this grace, since you willingly died for me. Let me so live that you may grant me the gift of such a happy death. In this way, my God and Savior, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"

Father, you consecrated the first beginnings of the faith in North America by the preaching and martyrdom of Saints John and Isaac and their companions. By the help of their prayers may the Christian faith continue to grow throughout the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues,
priests and martyrs, and their companions

Reading 1
Eph 2:12-22

Brothers and sisters:

You were at that time without Christ,
alienated from the community of Israel
and strangers to the covenants of promise,
without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the Blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one Body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 85:9ab-10, 11-12, 13-14

R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.

R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.

R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Lk 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”


October 19

St. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions

Isaac Jogues (1607-1646): Isaac Jogues and his companions were the first martyrs of the North American continent officially recognized by the Church. As a young Jesuit, Isaac Jogues, a man of learning and culture, taught literature in France. He gave up that career to work among the Huron Indians in the New World, and in 1636 he and his companions, under the leadership of John de Brébeuf, arrived in Quebec. The Hurons were constantly warred upon by the Iroquois, and in a few years Father Jogues was captured by the Iroquois and imprisoned for 13 months. His letters and journals tell how he and his companions were led from village to village, how they were beaten, tortured and forced to watch as their Huron converts were mangled and killed.

An unexpected chance for escape came to Isaac Jogues through the Dutch, and he returned to France, bearing the marks of his sufferings. Several fingers had been cut, chewed or burnt off. Pope Urban VIII gave him permission to offer Mass with his mutilated hands: "It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ be not allowed to drink the Blood of Christ." Welcomed home as a hero, Father Jogues might have sat back, thanked God for his safe return and died peacefully in his homeland. But his zeal led him back once more to the fulfillment of his dreams. In a few months he sailed for his missions among the Hurons.

In 1646 he and Jean de Lalande, who had offered his services to the missioners, set out for Iroquois country in the belief that a recently signed peace treaty would be observed. They were captured by a Mohawk war party, and on October 18 Father Jogues was tomahawked and beheaded. Jean de Lalande was killed the next day at Ossernenon, a village near Albany, New York.

The first of the Jesuit missionaries to be martyred was René Goupil who, with Lalande, had offered his services as an oblate. He was tortured along with Isaac Jogues in 1642, and was tomahawked for having made the Sign of the Cross on the brow of some children.

Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649): Jean de Brébeuf was a French Jesuit who came to Canada at the age of 32 and labored there for 24 years. He went back to France when the English captured Quebec (1629) and expelled the Jesuits, but returned to his missions four years later. Although medicine men blamed the Jesuits for a smallpox epidemic among the Hurons, Jean remained with them.

He composed catechisms and a dictionary in Huron, and saw 7,000 converted before his death. He was captured by the Iroquois and died after four hours of extreme torture at Sainte Marie, near Georgian Bay, Canada.

Father Anthony Daniel, working among Hurons who were gradually becoming Christian, was killed by Iroquois on July 4, 1648. His body was thrown into his chapel, which was set on fire.

Gabriel Lalemant had taken a fourth vow—to sacrifice his life to the Indians. He was horribly tortured to death along with Father Brébeuf.

Father Charles Garnier was shot to death as he baptized children and catechumens during an Iroquois attack.

Father Noel Chabanel was killed before he could answer his recall to France. He had found it exceedingly hard to adapt to mission life. He could not learn the language, the food and life of the Indians revolted him, plus he suffered spiritual dryness during his whole stay in Canada. Yet he made a vow to remain until death in his mission.

These eight Jesuit martyrs of North America were canonized in 1930.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Come, let us worship the Lord, the great King.


O light of light, O Dayspring bright,
Co-equal in thy Father’s light:
Assist us, as with prayer and psalm
Thy servants break the nightly calm.
All darkness from our minds dispel,
And turn to flight the hosts of hell:
Bid sleepfulness our eyelids fly,
Lest overwhelmed in sloth we lie.
Jesu, thy pardon, kind and free,
Bestow on us who trust in thee:
And as thy praises we declare,
O with acceptance hear our prayer.
O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

Psalm 9B (10)

The Lord will give just judgments to the poor.

With what purpose, Lord, do you stay away,
hide yourself in time of need and trouble?
The wicked in their pride persecute the weak,
trap them in the plots they have devised.
The sinner glories in his desires,
the miser congratulates himself.
The sinner in his arrogance rejects the Lord:
“there is no God, no retribution.”
This is what he thinks
– and all goes well for him.
Your judgements are far beyond his comprehension:
he despises all who stand against him.
The sinner says to himself: “I will stand firm;
nothing can touch me, from generation to generation.”
His mouth is full of malice and deceit,
under his tongue hide trouble and distress.
He lies in ambush by the villages,
he kills the innocent in some secret place.
He watches the weak,
he hides like a lion in its lair, and makes plans.
He plans to rob the weak,
lure him to his trap and rob him.
He rushes in, makes a dive,
and the poor victim is caught.
For he has said to himself, “God has forgotten.
He is not watching, he will never see.”

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord will give just judgments to the poor.
Psalm 9B (10)

Lord, you see the poor man’s trouble and his suffering.

Rise up, Lord, raise your hand!
Do not forget the weak.
Why does the wicked man spurn God?
Because he says to himself, “you will not take revenge.”
But you do see: you see the trouble and the pain,
and then you take things into your own hands.
The weak fall to your care,
and you are the help of the orphan.
Break the arms of the sinner and evil-doer:
seek out wickedness until there is no more to be found.
The Lord is King for ever and for ever.
The Gentiles have perished from his land.
You have heard the prayer of the weak, Lord,
and you will strengthen their hearts.
You will lend your ear to the pleas of the orphans and the helpless,
so mere mortals can frighten them no longer.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, you see the poor man’s trouble and his suffering.
Psalm 11 (12)

A prayer against the proud

The words of the Lord are pure words, they are silver refined in the furnace.
Save me, Lord, for the good men are all gone:
there is no-one to be trusted among the sons of men.
Neighbour speaks falsehood to neighbour:
with lying lips and crooked hearts they speak.
Let the Lord condemn all lying lips,
all boastful tongues.
They say “Our tongues will make us great,
our lips are ours, we have no master.”
“On account of the sufferings of the poor,
the groans of the weak, I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will bring to safety the one whom men despise.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
silver tried by fire, freed from dross,
silver seven times refined.
You, Lord, will help us
and guard us from now to all eternity –
while the wicked walk round outside,
where the vilest are most honoured of the children of men.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The words of the Lord are pure words, they are silver refined in the furnace.
The Lord will guide the humble on the right path.
– He will teach his ways to the meek.

Esther 4:1-17

When Mordecai learned what had happened, he tore his garments and put on sackcloth and ashes. Then he went right through the city, wailing loud and bitterly, until he arrived in front of the Chancellery, which no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter. And in every province, no sooner had the royal edict been read than among the Jews there was great mourning, fasting, weeping and wailing, and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.

When Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, she was overcome with grief. She sent clothes for Mordecai to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he refused them. Then Esther summoned Hathach, a eunuch whom the king had appointed to wait on her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai and enquire what was the matter and why he was acting in this way.

Hathach went out to Mordecai, who was still in the city square in front of the Chancellery, and Mordecai told him what had happened to him personally, and also about the sum of money which Haman had offered to pay into the royal treasury as compensation for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the edict of extermination published in Susa for him to show Esther for her information, with the message that she was to go to the king and implore his favour and plead with him for her people. ‘Remember your humbler circumstances,’ he said ‘when you were fed by my hand. Since Haman, the second person in the realm, has petitioned the king for our deaths, invoke the Lord, speak to the king for us and save us from death!’

Hathach came back and told Esther what Mordecai had said; and she replied with the following message for Mordecai, ‘All the king’s servants and the people of his provinces know that for a man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned there is one penalty: death, unless, by pointing his golden sceptre towards him, the king grants him his life. And I have not been summoned to the king for the last thirty days.’

These words of Esther were reported to Mordecai, who sent back the following reply, ‘Do not suppose that, because you are in the king’s palace, you are going to be the one Jew to escape. No; if you persist in remaining silent at such a time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but both you and the House of your father will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to the throne for just such a time as this.’

Whereupon Esther sent this reply to Mordecai, ‘Go and assemble all the Jews now in Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink day or night for three days. For my part, I and my maids will keep the same fast, after which I shall go to the king in spite of the law; and if I perish, I perish.’ Mordecai went away and carried out Esther’s instructions.


Never have I relied on anyone but you alone, O God of Israel. Even though you be angry, yet will you be merciful and forgive the offences of those who suffer misfortune.

Lord God of heaven and earth, relieve our distress. Even though you be angry, yet will you be merciful and forgive the offences of those who suffer misfortune.

A letter to Proba by St Augustine

On the Lord's Prayer

We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.

Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.

And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.

When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.
When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.

When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.

When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.

When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.

Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.


May the Lord hear your prayers and be reconciled to you. May the Lord our God not abandon you in time of evil.

May he give you all a heart to worship him and do his will. May the Lord our God not abandon you in time of evil.

Let us pray.

Almighty and ever-living God,
make us devoted to doing your will
and serving you in your majesty with sincere hearts.

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.