Witnesses to Faith in the face of death
by Kathleen van Schaijik
FUS Trustee Alan Keyes’ response to the Columbine High School tragedy has been circulating the web. Here is part of it:
“Several of the students at Columbine High have told of being with a girl [named Cassie Bernall] when a gunman demanded of the group whether any of them believed in Jesus Christ. The girl hesitated a minute, and then said, “Yes.” The gunman said, “For WHAT?”—and killed her…That child is a true martyr, and let us praise God for her soul, her courage, and her faith in the Lord… Especially moving to me in the description of the death of this girl is not her “yes,” but the moment of hesitation that preceded it. It means that she went into her heart and searched herself for the truth, and she came out with her witness before God in the face of death…”
There is also the story of another girl, Val Schnurr, who was shot, and cried, “Oh God!” to which the gunmen angrily responded, “So you believe in God?” Bleeding profusely and wracked with pain, with the menace of his gun still pointed in her face, she had the courage to reply, “Yes, I do.” He reloaded, as if to shoot her again, but was distracted by a noise and ran off, sparing her life.
The first girl was an active member of a Protestant youth group, the second girl was a Catholic, and a member of a youth group led by FUS alumni. How beautiful to think that the leaders of these youth groups (with our alumni among them!) had helped prepare the ground for such supreme acts of faith. May God grant the rest of us similar graces: the grace to live as they live—giving witness to Christ, and to die as Cassie died—giving witness to Christ.