Posted in Prayers and the Sacred

Martyr’s Mirror

495 years ago today, in 1525, the Swiss Anabaptist Movement was founded when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptized each other, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union. (Historical Calendar )

Below is a hymn by Felix Manz, who was martyred for his faith by drowning in Lake Zurich in January of 1527, becoming the first casualty of the Zurich council’s edict that made adult rebaptism punishable by drowning.

Here is the hymn in German and in English:

Mit Lust so will ich singen

Mein Herz freut sich in Gott

Der mir viel Kunst thut bringen,

Dasz ich entrinn dem Tod

Der ewiglich nimmet kein End.

Ich preiz dich Christ vom Himmel,

Der mir mein Kummer wend.

With gladness will I now sing;

My heart delights in God,

Who showed me such forbearance

That I from death was saved

Which never hath an end.

I praise Thee, Christ in heaven

Who all my sorrow changed.

I am grateful for my forbears and the faith passed down to me by my family.

May I be as courageous.


Posted in Musings and Reflections

A Lover of Truth, Justice, and Peace

On this Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember he who gives the holiday its namesake, St. Valintinus.

While there is some confusion around the life and identity of this early Christian martyr, I found some interesting characteristics that go beyond the sweetness of a heart shaped box of chocolates.

Most histories state that Valentinus was a Christian priest in Rome. He was arrested on countless occasions for proselytizing. While under house arrest, a judge, Asterius, put the priest to the test, saying he would do anything he asked if he healed his blind daughter. Valentinus did so and when Asterius asked what he should do, Valentinus told the judge to destroy all of the idols in his house, fast for three days, and be baptized. Asterius complied and he and his entire household were baptized. The judge also freed all of the Christian captives under his jurisdiction.

Another legend has it that Valentinus secretly married Christian couples so that the husbands would not have to go to war. As a result, he was arrested and sent to the prefect of Rome, the emperor Claudius himself. The emperor took a liking to the priest, but when Valentinus refused to renounce his faith, Claudius had him executed. Valentinus was beaten with clubs and beheaded outside the Flamian Gate on February 14, 269.

So on this day when we celebrate love, it is important that we remember St. Valentine, who helped the blind to see, refused to bow down to idols, spoke truth to judges and emperors, helped set the captives free, and used his authority to keep men from having to go to war.

Above all, he could not stop talking about the great Love of his life and in the end was martyred for his faith.

Originally posted February 14, 2017


On Thin Ice

Late at night, in the cold of a Dutch winter, an innocent man flees before his pursuer.

If he is caught, he will be put to death for his faith.

Coming to a body of water, he runs across the ice and despite the danger, makes it to the other side.

His pursuer is not so lucky and falls through the ice.

The man, Dirk Willems, hearing the cries of his enemy, returns and saves his life.

The “thief-catcher” wants to free his savior, but the authorities insist he follow the law.

Willems is arrested and burned at the stake, literally giving his life for another, his enemy.

(A note regarding numbers: As he died a long slow death, Willems “was heard to exclaim over seventy times, ‘O my Lord; my God,’ etc.” Strange to find this number in the account of a man who exemplified the Rule of the 490).


February 5, 2012