Titus committed himself to live out the truth in love. And he did this in so many different ways. Truly committed to the life of community and fraternity in Carmel, the very basis of our life is that we are brothers and sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, united with one another in compassion, respect and care.
Titus brought this love from his own Carmelite community to each one whom he encountered. He was well known in Holland for his ability to relate to the little ones, to those who were neglected, to those especially who seemed to have no one else to care for them. He carried this love even into the concentration camp.
The Gospel spoke today about the love of enemies, that ability to reach out to those who persecute. Titus had that opportunity and lived it out so well. There’s a story told that in one of the concentration camps, after he himself had been struck and beaten, he was encouraging his fellow prisoners that they must love the guards, those who had inflicted punishment on them.
One of his fellow prisoners indicated how difficult it was, that it was impossible. You could not love someone who was that brutal and cruel. And Titus with that twinkle in his eye, had the ability to say, “You must love him, but perhaps not all the time, not all day, not at each moment.”
Love means reaching out to someone, even an enemy.
Homily, Second Mass of Thanksgiving
Beatification of Titus Brandsma
5 November 1985, Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, Rome
We remember with gratitude the leadership of Father Malley, who served as Prior General of the Carmelites from 1983 to 1995. His unexpected death on 18 February 2012 left quite an impression on those in his community and his Order. He had just attended a school lacrosse match and was expected to go to a basketball game that Saturday evening, but he did not turn up. One of his community went to see what was wrong and he found Father John sitting in his chair with his breviary open in front of him. The psalm he had been reading was Psalm 116: “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful”.
Arribas O.Carm., M 2021, The Price of Truth: Titus Brandsma, Carmelite, Carmelite Media, Darien, Illinois.