69 years ago today, Blessed Titus Brandsma breathed his last breath in concentration camp Dachau. The exact circumstances in which this holy priest died are not known, but it is certain that he was murdered, both through exhaustion, hard labour, physical violence, as through lethal injection. And with today’s remembering of his birth into heaven, Blessed Titus also stops tweeting.
“In paradisum deducant te angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem” was the text of the final tweet, taken from the Requiem Mass.
For more than seven months, Twitter users were able to follow the final months of the life of the Carmelite priest in both English and Dutch. The accounts gathered 170 and 1,363 followers respectively. Katholiek Nederland announces this milestone here, and promises to continue with “ways in which we can allow this In Memoriam show an extra stage on social media”, but sadly won’t continue to do so in English. A shame, since the project that ended today,was duly noted by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in February. I wonder what could have been achieved in the future if dual-language projects were to continue.
Through which ordeals of conscience, of character, of the heart, did a follower of Christ who kept His words about loving the enemy in mind, have to go! To not answer hate with hate, but with love. Perhaps that s one of the greatest ordeals of the moral strengths of man.
Titus Brandsma emerged victorious from this ordeal. Where hate ruled, he managed to love; even his guards: “They too are children of the good Lord,” he said, “and perhaps something will stick in them…”
And today the face of Father Titus Brandsma also appears before us and on it we see his radiant smile in God’s glory. He speaks to the faithful of his country, the Netherlands, and to all the faithful of the world to once again confirm what has been the conviction of all his life: “Even though the new paganism does no longer want love… love will once again let us gain the hearts of the pagans… the reality of life will always let her be a force which is victorious in and captures the hearts of people.”
- Blessed Pope John Paul II, Homily at the beatification of Titus Brandsma, 3 November 1985.