Collect: O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs the seed of Christians, mercifully grant that the field which is your Church, watered by the blood shed by Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions, may be fertile and always yield you an abundant harvest. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today I begin with the Collect for the Ugandan Martyrs , because it tells what they lived for. Charles Lwanga’s life was about Christ, and he lived for Christ and His Church until the time of his death. The forty five martyr’s lived for Christianity. Sometimes, especially with the Martyrs of the Church, it is important to remember the way that they lived their lives, and what they lived for. I have written about Charles Lwanga before. He was a convert to Christianity, and a catechist, and both a mentor and protector of youth. His life was that of an exemplary Christian. Charles lived out his faith to the fullest, and that makes him memorable. His life makes him a Saint. Living a life to the point of death in Jesus Christ makes him a martyr.
Charles was put to death for his faith by a pedophile King who felt threatened by Christians like Charles and his Christian companions. It was for their Christian faith that King Mwanga had Charles and the Martyrs of Uganda put to death by fire. It was by Charles Lwanga’s faith that he protected the youth under his care from the pedophile king.Charles Lwanga lived his religion to the fullest, and that is how he made the fields of Christianity fertile.
When I think of how Charles lived and died, I also have to think a bit about the similar situation today. I have to think today about the Christians of Africa that have been enduring so many trials and persecutions for their faith just as Charles did. I can’t help but think of the recent news of Christians by militant groups such as Boko Haram. The persecutions that brought this Saint to martyrdom are still occurring today, and for many of the same reasons. One can hope that those suffering today gain strength through the inspiration and intercession of Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions, the Christian Martyrs of Uganda.