“Martyrdom is the seed of Christianity.” By this means, the Christian faith becomes firm and solid for it is in this way, by shedding of one’s blood the authentic love for Christ is shown and manifested. This was generously shown by Saint Pedro Calungsod when he died for the faith in Guam in 1672. Saint Pedro shouts to the world of the greatness of the Lord through missionary zeal in teaching catechism, burning charity as an all-around assistant of Blessed Diego and the deep cheerfulness he has as a worker of Christ. Thus, this hard labor prepared him for a greater task ― the gaining of the martyr’s palm.
The Philippines gave the Catholic world two Saints and both of them were martyrs namely St. Lorenzo Ruiz and was canonized in 1987and St. Pedro Calungsod just recently. St. Pedro’s martyrdom was sweeter than of St. Lorenzo because the former was more voluntary and willful while the latter was out of providence. St. Pedro, single and young, vibrantly and generously volunteered to be a catechist in Guam leaving his family and ambitions to spread God’s unending love for humanity. On the other hand, St. Lorenzo a married man, was accused of a crime went to Japan with the Dominicans and became a sacristan. Both of these Saints, were lay missionary, clerical assistant, and were martyred not in their native land. But what is more fascinating about St. Pedro was he had no exact records except from the Blessed Diego’s journal yet he became one of the canonized saints of the Catholic Church.
“A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friend” (Jn. 15:13). St. Pedro genuinely testified to this when he defended Blessed Diego from the assault of the Chamorro; as a result, he was hit by a spear and slashed by a sword in the neck far greater from St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, another Martyr of Charity. St. Pedro responded to the urgency of the call to martyrdom at that very moment whereas St. Maximilian did the same still died a later longer. Charity was the first and foremost reason of his martyrdom, the laying of one’s life for one’s friend is the greatest love of all. His love for Blessed Diego who He saw in the eyes of faith as the ambassador of Christ causes much of his life. As we also believe that the destruction of priests leads to the destruction of the Eucharist the very center of our Christian life, for priest perpetuates the celebration of the Eucharist the firm foundation of the faith of our forefathers.
Our deed reveals the truth of the faith we believe. St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the Patroness of the Mission and was the youngest of the Doctors of the Church is also an exemplar for this. Her journal serves as a treatise that could be used as a direction in the spiritual life. Alternatively, St. Pedro left no works yet his life shed for faith was his excellent piece. He never wrote it in ink but in his own blood, not on paper but on Tumhom beach. This only illustrated that St. Pedro was a living figure of what St. Anthony of Padua, another Doctor of the Church said that “action speaks louder than words”.
By Crisanto Ma. Camacho (KNMC)