Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Blessed Are You:  Saint John of Cologne (or Gorcum), O.P. and Companions

St. John of Cologne

In 1572, a group of priests and religious were seized by Protestant Calvinists.  St. John of Cologne was not in the original party arrested, but when he heard of their plight, he defied the present danger and came to assist them in prison.  He thus came to share their profession of faith, their sufferings, their death and crown.

These martyrs were subjected to every sort of derision and outrage, cruelly treated and hanged on a gibbet by the Calvinists.  Their crime?  They staunchly held and proclaimed two points of Christian faith, which had been believed and taught since the days of the apostles and the early Church: first, that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, and second, the primacy of the pope over the universal Church – a primacy not merely of honor, but of jurisdiction.

In the place of their martyrdom there grew a miraculous tree, with as many flowers as there were victims.  In the Gospel of their feast, our Blessed Lord shows us the true means of happiness here below: “You will be happy,” He says, “when men shall hate you, when they shall separate you and reproach you and cast out your name as evil for the Son of Man’s sake.  Be glad in that day and rejoice, for your reward is great in Heaven.”  Alas!  How few, in actual practice, understand this language or desire this reward!

Prayer: “Bless, O Lord, those who give me Holy Communion.  Make them to rejoice in Your holy will” (St. Catherine of Siena).

Practice: Show your faith in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist by exact observance of silence in Church, especially before, during and after Mass and exposition, Benediction and processions of the Blessed Sacrament.

St. John of Cologne and martyrs of Gorcum, pray for us.

Based on an excerpt of “Saints and Saintly Dominicans: Daily Reflections on Their Lives”, edited by Rev. Thomas a Kempis Reilly, O.P. (1915).

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