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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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English Martyrs

Thursday, May 04, 2017
Undoubtedly for many of us the thought of martyrdom sends a shiver down our spine. If any of you are like me, we probably think we’d break under pressure and agree to anything in order not to be killed. Of course, we hope deep in our hearts that we would be open to God’s grace and would face martyrdom courageously.

Today’s feast of the English martyrs is a reminder that at one point martyrdom was something faced not just by people in far away lands, but on our very own home soil. Living in Oxford is always a reminder of the sacrifice paid by many a Catholic during the Reformation period in this country. Just opposite to Blackfriars was where Edmund Campion once studied at St John’s College. A ten minute walk away is a plaque commemorating the spot where George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, Thomas Nelson, and Humphrey Pritchard were executed for holding fast to their Catholic faith. Of course, not only Oxford is a city of martyrs. There is the well-known site of the martyrs at Tyburn, to name only one other example. 

They all met a horrific and painful death, one none of us would typically ever want to endure. Pondering on their choice of martyrdom over renouncing their firmly held beliefs is a challenge for us all to question how deeply we believe what we claim to profess. Do we pay mere lip service, or do we believe to the point where losing our life now is but a small price to pay for holding fast to what is true?

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

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