Abraham’s Heroes

“He (Abraham) believed, hoping against hope, that he would become the father of many nations, according to what was said, Thus shall your descendants be.”  (Romans 4:13)

“You must realize our lives depend upon a single thread. We are told to expect death every hour and be prepared for it, no matter where we are in the world; that applies here particularly.”  Jean de Brebeuf 

God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled

Each time God raises up a missionary to an unreached nation, father Abraham must be all smiles thinking, “I have a new hero of faith”.  The Psalmist reminds us, “God remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations.”    The Joshua Project estimates there 7000 people groups still unreached.    Throughout the centuries, men and women respond to the call for the sake of one soul.

The Huron Indians needed Abraham’s God.  Women were considered mules.  The Hurons were inveterate gamblers staking everything: wives, canoes, and clothing.   If sick, these members of the Iroquois nation sought out the medicine man who would shake a turtle’s shell yelling at the demon thought to possess the inflicted.

At the beginning of the 17th century, God raised up Isaac Jogues who thought martyrdom in Ethiopia was his destiny.   His spiritual advisor responded, “Not so, my child, You will die in Canada.”

After arriving in New France (Canada), Father Jean de Brebeuf, who was the superior and the veteran missionary among the Hurons, addressed Jogues “Instead of being a great master and a great theologian, as in France,” he said, “you must reckon on being here a humble scholar; and the n, good God, with what masters! – women, little children, and all the savages – and exposed to what laughter! The Huron language will be your Saint Thomas and your Aristotle. Clever men as you are, and speaking glibly among learned and capable persons, you must make up your minds to be mute for a long time among the barbarians. ans. You will have accomplished much if you begin to stammer a little at the end of a considerable time.” (cf. John A. O’Brien. Saints Of The American Wilderness: The Brave Lives And Holy Deaths Of The Eight North American Martyrs.)

The priests understood Paul’s words, “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7).   Like Paul, they were “experiencing the infinite power of heaven and earth (cf. Matthew 28:18-20) in a surprising way.   When the Indians were afflicted and driven to despair, and nearly struck down, the priests cared for them resulting 240 baptisms.    Jogues wrote, “All the labors of a million persons, would they not be worthwhile if they gained one single soul for Jesus Christ?”

The priests were living martyrs.

When the Mohawk party defeated the Huron Indians many were burned at the stake.   As Huron Indians faced death, Jogues baptized 70.    Soon the prophecy about Jogues’ martyrdom was fulfilled.  After a Mohawk council meeting (cf.  Luke 12:8-12),  the priest confessed, “`but I do not fear death or torture. I do not know why you would kill me. I come here to confirm the peace and show you the way to Heaven, and you treat me like a dog… Then a brave struck him with a hatchet and then hacked off his head.”



Recommend source: John A. O’Brien. Saints Of The American Wilderness: The Brave Lives And Holy Deaths Of The Eight North American Martyrs

Author: gbradepp

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.