Last Sunday, one of our parish priests pulled me aside specifically to tell me he had a relic of Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Carmelite friar who was murdered (martyred) July 26, 1942 in a Dachau concentration camp hospital by lethal injection, and is to be beatified May 15, 2022, in Rome. But his next statement came as quite a shock – Of all people, he wanted to gift this treasure to me!
I have to tell you I hardly know this brother in Carmel. He’s only been at my parish a short time – less than a year. We’ve hardly had a real conversation during all of this time. And honestly I didn’t even think he connected me with the Carmelites. It is a complete mystery why he decided to pass this article of religious significance to me.
Someone once told me a long time ago that a relic must be a gift. You shouldn’t just buy a relic. And why would someone gift a relic at all? Is there some tradition that I’m not aware of? Something meaningful to reflect on? I’m not sure – does the one who is gifting the relic think you are in need of some kind of help from a “holy one”? Do they see you as someone who reminds them of the particular Blessed, Saint, etc. because of some attribute or character trait that you might possess that reminds them of this “holy one”? Do they see you as one of the faithful who would protect and cherish such a gift? And just why would they part with such a treasure?
It remains a mystery. I can tell you for now I am humbled, honored, puzzled, blessed – all the things. What I can say in the future about all of this remains to be seen.
Thank you dear brother!
“I see God in the work of his hands and the marks of his love in every visible thing, and it sometimes happens that I am seized by a supreme joy which is above all other joys.”Bl. Titus Brandsma, Carmelite