The Martyrs’ Door Of the Basilica of St Maurice, with the names of Pierre Claverie and Mohamed Bouchiki
In Le Monde of July 28th, Jean-François Bouthors asks, ‘Are we capable of coming through this terrible trial without massacring the future?’ He looks to Francis of Assisi, who discovered great joy in renunciation, humility, courage and self-denial, but the joy these virtues instil is accompanied by suffering and the giving of one’s life for others.
Such giving can take many forms, Bouthors reminds us: the daily giving of one’s service of others but also the martyrdom of blood. We have already met Pierre Claverie and Bouchikhi, his friend and driver, killed just twenty years ago during the black years of civil war in Algeria. (See our post for July 30th: https://agnellusmirror.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/july-30-pierre-and-mohamed-martyrs-together/ )
The Cistercians of Tibéhirine had been assassinated a few months before this – their witness of living at peace with their Muslim neighbours an affront to the militants of that time, as it always will be. It is a living challenge to their rule-bound, rigid, fundamentalism.
Christians stayed in Algeria sharing their Muslim neighbours’ experience of the terror. That witness of friendship, lived out in France by Fr Jacques Hamel, is all the more important today in our global village.
And, as in Algeria twenty years ago, so now across the world, Muslims are killed, tortured and exiled in greater numbers than Christians.