O Jesus I Have Promised – Br. James Koester

Feast Day: Bernard Mizeki 
We Brothers are familiar with the story of Bernard Mizeki, because in many ways, he’s one of our own. Unfortunately, the all too brief hagiography of him in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, doesn’t do him justice. Nor does it do justice to reason why his shrine in Zimbabwe continues to attract thousands of pilgrims each year on his feast day.

But today, I don’t want to focus on the story of his martyrdom. I want to remember a part of his story, which is less familiar: the story of his baptism.

Writing from Cape Town on 9 March 1886, Father Puller says this:

We had a very happy day on Sunday. As … the Bishop gave us leave to baptize our [African] catechumens before the … chapel was formally opened and licensed.

Accordingly, we got the building ready and held the service on Sunday Evening….

The altar with its dossal and canopy and other sanctuary hangings looked very dignified and beautiful….

Our baptismal tank holds about 400 gallons of water….

Father Shepherd has been training a choir, and we came into the chapel in procession singing “As pants the hart for cooling streams.” … The Chapel was very full of people, although we had not given public notice of the service. The choir took their places on one side of the baptismal tank, and the seven catechumens in dark blue garments reaching to their feet … on the other side. Fraulein von Blomberg, as godmother, had a place beside them. Everyone was, I think, impressed by the great seriousness and earnestness of the catechumens. Read More

Cast Aside Your Fear – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim Woodrum

Feast of Bernard Mizeki

Revelation 7:13-17; Psalm 124; Luke 12:2-12

When reading the lessons appointed for today, I could not get the front page of the Boston Globe from the day after the Marathon bombings out of my mind. The large picture was of a woman lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood with two men attending to her, one applying pressure to her badly wounded leg. The bold print accompanying the article underneath the picture read, “Amid Shock, A Rush to Help Strangers.”The article went on to describe the various reactions to the bombing.[i]The one I think we all can identify with is fear and the immediate need to get away to safety as fast as possible.  All of us have this innate instinct for self-preservation that when something devastating happens, the body is driven to action by chemical processes in the brain such as the release of adrenaline.

There was also the unthinkable reaction of some, who despite not knowing what was coming next, ran toward the explosion sites to start helping people who had been injured. Some of the first responders were trained EMT’s, doctors, and nurses….and then there were others who had no idea what to do except to apply pressure to wounds and keep talking to the injured to ward off shock.  In a chaotic scene such as that, I can only imagine the overwhelming sense of helplessness some people had, yet remained behind to help in any way possible, risking their own lives in the process.  I greatly admire these people and wonder if I would have stayed to help or if I would have followed my instinct to run away to safety.  

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