Ash Wednesday, 2018
“Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God… See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!”
-2 Corinthians, 5:20, 6:2
“Even the child’s mother…told me that it was because of this sign of the Cross that René Goupil had been killed; and the old man who had given the command that he should be slain…when I previously made the sign of the Cross, said to me, ‘That is what we hate; that is why we have killed thy companion, and why they will kill thee.’”
-St. Isaac Jogues, from his Account of the Martyrdom of St. René Goupil, 1646
St. René Goupil, the first of Christ’s ambassadors to North America to die as a martyr, received the blow that killed him because he blessed a sick child with the sign of the Cross. As we begin our Lenten pilgrimage, praying with the Canadian Martyrs, let us take a moment to recall the true boldness of announcing ourselves as Catholics and proclaiming Christ to the world with the sign of the Cross. Marked with a cross of ashes, each of us receives an opportunity to consider in what ways we cooperate with the Saints’ mission as His ambassadors and a call to ask how we fall short of this vocation to make the Lord Jesus more visible in His creation.
Setting out on this 40 day journey, we ask the Canadian Martyrs’ intercession to guide our prayer and strengthen our discipline so that we may become better witnesses to His merciful Passion and more joyful heralds of His coming Resurrection. St. René Goupil, pray for us with your companions, that we may truly know now is the time to turn from sin and believe the Gospel so that all who see us may see only the face of Christ working for the reconciliation of the world.