Blessed Denis and Redemptus

Date: 
November 29, 2015
November 29, 2016
November 29, 2017
November 29, 2018
November 29, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Memorial
Classification: 
Martyr

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra, where, in the town of Achen, they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

(Bk 2, Ch 7:5—ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 122-24)

 

"True self-denial means carrying Christ’s Cross If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his soul shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it. Oh, who can make this counsel of Our Savior understandable and practicable and attractive, that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in traveling this road! They are of the opinion that any kind of withdrawal from the world or reformation of life suffices. Some are content with a certain degree of virtue, perseverance in prayer, and mortification, but never achieve the nakedness, poverty, selflessness, or spiritual purity (which are all the same) that the Lord counsels us here. For they still feed and clothe their natural selves with spiritual
feelings and consolations rather than divesting and denying themselves of these for God’s sake.

Through this kind of conduct they become, spiritually speaking, enemies of the cross of Christ. A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God rather than toward possession. It prefers dryness and affliction to sweet consolation. It knows that this is the significance of following Christ and denying self, that the other method is perhaps a seeking of self in God—something entirely contrary to love.

If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God,he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father but through him. This way is nothing other than a death to our natural selves."

Carmelite Prayer: 
Father, we celebrate the memory of Blesseds Denis and Redemptus who died for their faithful witnessing to Christ. Give us the strength to follow their example, loyal and faithful to the end.