Thought for the Day – 26 July – The Memorial of Blessed Titus Brandsma O.C.D. (1881-1942) Martyr of the Faith
Titus’ teachings on peace and forgiveness were probably put to the most radical test during his seven months as a prisoner of the Nazis. He was subjected, not only to loss of freedom and appalling prison conditions but to brutal mistreatment by his captors, including medical experimentation. Two particular incidents stand out as concrete examples of his response to these extreme conditions of suffering.
Once, another Dutch prisoner challenged him about his admonition that the prisoners should pray for their Nazi captors. How could they be expected to do that, the other Dutchman asked, when they were being mishandled and terrorised by the guards? With typical humour and realism, Titus replied, “You don’t have to pray for them the whole day! The good Lord will be happy with one prayer”.
Always lovingly cognisant of the gap between the human ideal and the reality of human limitations, Titus counselled a practical, achievable goal.
Secondly, the nurse, who administered the fatal injection in the “hospital” at Dachau, testified at his beatification process that he had given her his rosary at the end and said “What an unfortunate girl you are. I shall pray for you”. His response, the nurse said, was instrumental in bringing her back to the practice of her faith (she was a Catholic).
Question for contemplation: Who are the persons in my life that I see as equivalent to Titus’ Nazi captors and how can I find realistic ways to be more accepting of them as human beings?
Blessed Titus Brandsma, Pray for us!
On 13 December 2017 an event took place in the United States of America that may take the cause of Carmelite martyr Blessed Titus Brandsma a step closer to canonisation.
The Bishop of Palm Beach Diocese in Florida, Bishop Gerald Barbarito and other officials signed, witnessed and sealed, the papers relating to an investigation of a medically unexplained healing attributed to God through the intercession of Blessed Titus.
The recipient of this grace is Father Michael Driscoll, a Carmelite friar working in Palm Beach Diocese. In 2004 he was diagnosed with a severe stage of metastatic melanoma cancer that was attacking his neck area behind the ear and spreading to other parts of his body. Some areas of the cancer were in the critical fourth and fifth stages. A sincere devotee of Blessed Titus, Father Michael prayed to God for healing through the intercession of the Carmelite martyr and his prayers were joined by fellow Carmelites, parishioners, friends and family. Undergoing more than 30 treatments including surgery, Father Michael said with determination, “I am okay because Titus is going to take care of me.”
On 13 December the diocese held the Official Closing Session of its investigation into the alleged miraculous healing. After a period of prayer, the papers were signed, witnessed, sealed and then sent to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. If the case is deemed to be a credible miracle and Pope Francis approves, the canonisation of Titus Brandsma will be declared. (http://www.carmelite.org/news/hopeful-step-canonisation-blessed-titus-brandsma – with pics)
Prayer for the Canonisation
of Blessed Titus Brandsma
Loving God, Your servant, Titus Brandsma,
laboured zealously in Your vineyard
and gave his life freely because of his faith in You.
Through his intercession I ask for Your mercy and help.
Father, Titus never refused,
when he was asked for help by Your people.
By his intercession, I come to You with my needs:
Lord, help me always to imitate the great faith,
generous love and burning zeal of Titus Brandsma.
Glorify Your servant as he wished to glorify You.
Mary, Mother of Carmel, pray for us.
Titus Brandsma, Carmelite and Martyr, pray for us.