Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Dec. 1st - St Edmund Campion
Among the many Jesuit martyrs, few have captured the imagination of both the Jesuits and the greater church than Edmund Campion. Born in 1540, he quickly gained a reputation as having all the natural wit, charm, and good looks to place him on the highest pinnacles of Elizabethan Society. His studies brought him into contact with authentic texts, not commentaries or "learned opinions" and such contact always has consequences. The consequence for Campion was his entrance into the Catholic faith and soon thereafter he entered the Society of Jesus. Subsequent training prepared him for his secretive return to England so that he could minister to the needs of persecuted and hidden Catholics. He entered that country on June 24, 1580 and was captured a year later in July of 1581. Various persons, including the queen herself offered Campion the best positions in society on condition that he abjure his faith. Weighing the temporal against the eternal he chose martyrdom which he received on December 1, 1581.
Few of us are called to witness to our faith to the point of shedding blood, but we are called to give witness to our faith in thought, word, and deed. Today's feast should remind us that brave witness can come in small ways as well.
By Fr. Michael Maher, S.J.