BLESSED MARIA MERCEDES PRAT
Virgin and Martyr
Mercedes Prat was born on March 6, 1880, in Barcelona, baptized on the following day, and made her First Holy Communion on June 30, 1890. From her childhood, she gave herself completely to God, whom she received every day in Communion. She displayed a great love for her neighbor and tried to foster this kind of love in others. During her years in school, she was known for her goodness and her dedication to school work, excelling especially in painting and needlework, which were areas in which she had a natural talent. Entering the novitiate of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1904, in Tortosa, she made her temporary profession in 1907. She was a religious according to the heart of God: prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealings with others, but firm in character. God was her one love, and her love for God kept growing to the point where she would give her life for Him. In 1920 she was assigned to the motherhouse in Barcelona. From there the path to martyrdom began on July 19, 1936, when the community was forced to give up the school and flee. On July 23, because she was a religious, Sr. Mercedes was arrested and shot; she died in the early morning of July 24.
From the Common of one Martyr or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:
Office of Readings
From the writings of Saint Henry de Ossó, priest (Prologue, Escritos 3)
Conforming our life to Christ Jesus
If we are looking for an essential occupation, a consuming interest, that can be called Christian before all else, then it is to clothe oneself in Christ: to think as Christ did; to feel as he did; to love as Jesus did; to work as he did; to deal with others as Christ did; to speak as he did—in one word, to make the whole of our life resemble that of Christ Jesus. The word Christian means alter Christus—another Christ—therefore nobody can save us if we have not first of all been conformed to the likeness of Christ. But in order to conform ourselves to the life of Jesus, it is above all necessary to study him, to know him, to meditate upon him. If we are to be totally in perfect union with him, this must not be done superficially. We must enter into the feelings of Jesus, his longings, his desires, his intentions.
We ought to recollect that, to enter into the Holy of Holies of his heart, is a foolhardiness on our part; but the same Lord Jesus in his goodness, and with his own words, has called us to himself. If he didn’t, how are we to learn his meekness and humility? If we do not know the sentiments of his heart in order to practice them, how are we to place our every action before him, in imitation of him? For Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept quiet, got about, got tired, rested, was hungry and thirsty, worked. To be brief: he suffered and died for our sake.
When I say Jesus Christ, I imagine a lovely baby, a fine youth, or a mature man, with all the grace and charm that the divinity was able to shower upon a human soul and body. But I also think of him, subject to all of our miseries, except sin, out of love for me. He is our brother, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, and bone of our bones. He is my Jesus, truly God and man, alive, personal, who appeared on this earth, and lived and talked with us for thirty-three years. For our sake, being the Eternal Word of the Father, he descended from heaven, was born, suffered, died, rose, ascended into heaven. He remains amongst us until the end of time, to be our companion, our consolation and nourishment in the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I shall live, eat, sleep, talk, keep silent, work, suffer: I shall do everything, suffer everything in union with Jesus. All that Jesus desires that I suffer or do, this shall I do in union with that divine intention and those sentiments that Jesus had in all that he did or suffered. Whoever does this, will live here on earth a life of heaven, will be transformed into Jesus, and will be able to say with the Apostle: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
R/. Because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. * For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ.
V/. I am alive, yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me. * For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ.
O God of infinite goodness,
you gave Blessed Maria Mercedes, virgin,
the courage to bring to fullness in martyrdom
her offering to you and to the Church.
Grant us, through her intercession,
the grace to be so firmly rooted in the love of Christ
that nothing can ever separate us from this love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.