BLESSEDS DENIS OF THE NATIVITY, PRIEST,
AND REDEMPTUS OF THE CROSS, RELIGIOUS
In the provinces of India: Memorial
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 (Indonesia), where, in the town of Achen (Aceh), they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.
From the common of several martyrs
Office of Readings
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 became, 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.
R./ If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. * Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
V./ They have persecuted me, and they will persecute you. * Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. Blessed are you when you are persecuted on my account: rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
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.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.
Canticle of Mary
Ant. They loved Christ in their lives and imitated Him in their death: and so they reign with Him forever.
Photos of Blessed Denis (white mantle) and Blessed Redemptus (brown mantle) are from the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, courtesy of the Discalced Carmelite General Curia (used by permission)