For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand.
For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
On October 25th in the year 285, St. Crispin preached Christianity to the Gauls, attracting the ire of the governor, and was beheaded during the reign of Diocletian. The date is also the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, Catholics executed for accused treason during the English Reformation. Many were sentenced to death at show trials with no due process. St Crispin’s Day today may be best remembered owing to William Shakespeare’s 1599 play. On the eve of the battle of Agincourt (1415), Henry V urges his men – “From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be rememberèd— We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother… And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
As we reflect on these martyrs who gave their lives for their faith in Christ, where is my own mortal courage, as Paul asks?
Good and gracious God, we draw strength from our ancestors in faith who have gone before us and we ask you to give us the courage to stand up for our belief in you. May we never be afraid to show our love for you, no matter the situation. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!