Sacrificing one's life to save others marks the most sublime message in Christianity. This is the crux of Christianity which calls for extending a helping hand to the needy even at the expense of making personal sacrifices.
The Holy Bible includes numerous verses that call for extending all possible efforts to help others. One of them is “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God,” (Hebrews 13:16)
Press reports have indicated that a Brazilian priest is being hailed as a hero after he died on March 13, 2021 saving two people from drowning in a lake in Bezerros, Pernambuco State.
The Brazilian priest is Fr. Fernando de Lima Silva, 38, who saved a mother and a child that were struggling to keep their heads above water after a boat accident. Exhausted shortly after taking both to safety, he apparently lost all strength and ended up drowning.
The events that led to Fr. Silva’s death states that the priest was in a small boat with a woman and a child and that it capsized when the occupants got up to take a picture. The priest jumped into the water and caught the child first. Then he swam to rescue the mother.
What Fr. Fernando de Lima Silva did marks a verbatim application of Lord Jesus' teaching who said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
He followed the model of the Prince of Peace and the Savior of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself to save humanity. The Bible says, “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
This incident genuinely reflects the divine message expressed by clergymen and clergywomen who dedicate their lives to serve humanity and uphold the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ which call for the spreading the message of love, and even sacrificing one's life for saving others.
Priests are God's men on Earth, for besides serving as an instrument used by God for the salvation of souls, they also help hopeless people find a noble way in life and undertake ineffable sacrifices to heal bodies and souls of those who lost their ways in life.
On the other hand, Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, has recalled the 25th anniversary of the publication of Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, on 25 March 1996. He said that "the consecrated men and women reveal the glory and the face of the Father in the luminous splendor of the Spirit.”
It is to be admitted that the consecrated women and men are witnesses to the beauty of God.
As priests are highly venerated in all societies for the divine services they provide to people, we ask Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, to hear our humble prayers by giving them a deep faith, a bright and firm hope, and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life. We implore the Lord to comfort and strengthen them.