Thought for the Day – 7 July – Memorial of Blessed Peter To Rot “Defender of the Sacrament of Marriage” – a Saint for our times!
“Blessed Peter understood the value of suffering. Inspired by his faith in Christ, he was a devoted husband, a loving father and a dedicated catechist known for his kindness, gentleness and compassion. Daily Mass and Holy Communion and frequent visits to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, sustained him, gave him wisdom to counsel the disheartened and courage to persevere until death. In order to be an effective evangeliser, Peter To Rot studied hard and sought advice from wise and holy “big men”. Most of all he prayed – for himself, for his family, for his people, for the Church. His witness to the Gospel inspired others, in very difficult situations, because he lived his Christian life so purely and joyfully. Without being aware of it, he was preparing throughout his life for his greatest offering: by dying daily to himself, he walked with his Lord on the road which leads to Calvary (Cf. Mt. 10: 38-39).
During times of persecution the faith of individuals and communities is “tested by fire” (1Pt. 1: 7). But Christ tells us that there is no reason to be afraid. Those persecuted for their faith will be more eloquent than ever: “it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you” (Mt. 10: 20). So it was for Blessed Peter To Rot. When the village of Rakunai was occupied during the Second World War and after the heroic missionary priests were imprisoned, he assumed responsibility for the spiritual life of the villagers. Not only did he continue to instruct the faithful and visit the sick, he also baptised, assisted at marriages and led people in prayer.
When the authorities legalised and encouraged polygamy, Blessed Peter knew it to be against Christian principles and firmly denounced this practice. Because the Spirit of God dwelt in him, he fearlessly proclaimed the truth about the sanctity of marriage. He refused to take the “easy way” (Cf. ibid. 7: 13) of moral compromise. “I have to fulfil my duty as a Church witness to Jesus Christ”, he explained. Fear of suffering and death did not deter him. During his final imprisonment Peter To Rot was serene, even joyful. He told people that he was ready to die for the faith and for his people.” EXCERPT from the HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER ST JOHN PAUL II (Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Tuesday, 17 January 1995 on the Beatification of Blessed Peter To Rot)
Blessed Peter To Rot – Pray for us that we too may, in all circumstances and at every opportunity defend the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage without fear and without moral compromise!