Martyr’s Mass – A Reflection


To be honest, I didn’t really like my high school experience.  I found it slightly . . . traumatic. But I remember having this one experience.  I had a crush on one of the girls in my class.  She was nice and we got along well.  We had conversations, before, after, and during class.  At a certain point, I began to like to her, and I thought maybe I should ask her out.

Then a “buddy” who got wind of my plan, said to me that she was talking to me only because she was using me and that she really didn’t like me.  I believed him.  What’s more, I stopped talking to her and focused on my school work.

It was only years later, when I met with her again that I found it that my buddy was totally wrong.  She actually did like me too, but for some reason, I bought into the lie.

It’s very easy I think to be buy into false beliefs.  We often don’t really question or ask where our beliefs come from.  What’s more we are quick to dismiss, ridicule or even ignore the beliefs of others which in some way go against our own.

Take for example, Jean de Brebeuf.

Here was a young man who particularly well off.  He had it all – growing up with ancestors who were connected to the nobility of his time.  He decides to put it all aside and join the Jesuits at the age of 24.  He left everything behind, his country, his friends, his family for Canada. He would never see any of them ever again.

And what did he get when he was here? He ventured into a land without central heating, without air conditioning, without supermarkets.  A place, where rodents and critters would bite you during the cold evenings.  A land where being separated from your companions could mean instant death.

The Huron name for Father Brébeuf was Échon, a word that means either “healing tree” or “he who bears the heavy load,” This was the respect that the Indigenous people would eventually have towards this man.

And he loved them as well.  It is because of Brebeuf that we have the only surviving dictionary of the Huron language and customs.  This was because, apart from disease brought from Europe,  a massive war with the Iroquois would eventually wipe out the Huron people.

Brebeuf himself underwent one of the worst tortures ever.  Yet, he never cursed his captors.  He didn’t fill up with revenge or throw insults.

Why you might ask?  Why would he leave everything behind?  Come to a land, where he would suffer to the point up giving up his life?  Let’s use his words to see why

“Around about nightfall on the same day as I prepared for the meditation on Christ …  I was thinking that all … things … come down to this one: His wondrous love of us.”

 That Jesus loves each one of us individually.  That God loves us each one.  Each one of us is worthy of being loved.  This is the belief that spurred Brebeuf here to Canada to give his life for the Huron people.

And, you might say “nice idea”.  It’s really pretty.

But … what if he was right?  What if, from a young age, each one of us too was given the false belief like I was when I was young, that we are not really liked, that we are not really loved.

Brebeuf believed in the love of God for each of us.  He believed it so much that he was willing to stake everything on it.

Lord, help us to see and know the truth about life, and the truth about ourselves.  Help us to see, that each one of us, is loved, and worthy of love.  We make this prayer through Christ our Lord…Amen.

Raj Vijayakumar is currently residing in Toronto and working as an assistant for L’Arche Canada.

  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 09:29h, 26 September Reply

    Thanks Raj. Good piece. I’m sure that the students will find this helpful

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 13:20h, 26 September Reply

    Thank you Raj!

  • Sami Helewa
    Posted at 20:47h, 26 September Reply

    Raj, this is a good reflection. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jim Radde
    Posted at 18:01h, 28 September Reply


    Your article calls me to trust more deeply in God’s love for me.
    Thank you.

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