Feast of St. John Roberts (December 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Union Jack

SAINT JOHN ROBERTS (1575/1576-December 10, 1610)

Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Freedom of religion is something we ought never to take for granted.  Consider, for example, the case of St. John Roberts, executed for being a Roman Catholic priest in England.

The Welsh-born saint attended St. John’s College, Oxford, only to leave without a degree after two years to study law.  His actual vocation, however, was to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church.  First, however, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1598, while traveling in Europe.  The new priest returned to England in 1603, only to face arrest and banishment that year.  Then he spent time in Europe before returning to England in 1605.  He spent six months in prison before the government banished him again.  Then Roberts spent fourteen months in Douai, where he started a house for English Benedictines–the beginning of the Monastery of St. Gregory at Douai.  Next he returned to England in 1607, was arrested and imprisoned again.  The authorities banished him again in 1609.  He returned yet again in 1610.  The authorities arrested him again, convicted him on December 5, and hanged, drew, and quartered him on December 10.

Whom would Jesus hang, draw, and quarter?  Nobody, of course!

The Roman Catholic Church beatified Roberts in 1886 and canonized him in 1970.  He was indeed a martyr, one who died for his faith.  He could have remained safe in France, but chose the dangerous path for the sake of Christ.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 26, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE LAST DAY OF ORDINARY TIME 2011

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN

THE FEAST OF ISAAC WATTS, HYMN WRITER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gracious God,

in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of Saint John Roberts,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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