St Cirilo Bertrán and Eight Companions, Martyrs of Turón

(entered heaven this day in 1934)

Dear Bert,

If your Compass chapter is really doing its job, you’re not going to be able to avoid a few potholes and speed bumps.  You just have to keep going, that’s all. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to be out there looking for opposition, but if it comes to you while you’re engaged in defending Christian values and truth against vociferous ideologues, you can take it as an indication that you’re on the right track.  Didn’t our Lord emphasize that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are “blessed”? If that’s what’s happening, you can rest assured you are in good company, like that of today’s saints.

Most of them were in their early twenties; St Cirilo was the superior of 7 Christian Brothers working at a school in the mining region of Asturias, Spain.  On the fateful day of their martyrdom they were joined by a Passionist Father who had come to hear confessions – they would be his last. At the time, civil unrest was rampant in Spain.  The freemasons and the communists were dead set on grasping all power in the country and doing away with the Church, among other things. The struggle ended up producing a bloody civil war and a slew of martyrs, something you don’t read about in most USA history books (just as you don’t read about the Cristero war in Mexico in the 1920s, a direct parallel, which also produced scores – if not hundreds – of martyrs).  So one fine day some of these rebels forced their way into the Christian Brothers’ School, right about dawn, took the religious captive, imprisoned them for a time in the “House of the People”, and decided to execute them as enemies of emerging order. All nine martyrs faced death with the courage and serenity of those who had placed their lives in the hands of the Lord of the universe; none compromised their faith or betrayed their King.

I hope you don’t have to face a literal firing squad – at least, not anytime soon, but against the ideological firing squad (which can be even more brutal sometimes, I know) you may be able to derive inspiration from these brave soldiers of Christ.  Remember the old saying: God will NEVER be outdone in generosity.

Your devoted uncle, Eddy

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