Editor’s Note: On March 23 in the French town of Trèbes, an ISIS attacker entered a supermarket, killed two people, and took a woman hostage. Arnaud Beltrame, a gendarme, persuaded the attacker to let him take the woman’s place, and then was killed. Beltrame had been preparing for a Catholic wedding with the canons of the Abbey of Lagrasse, a religious order devoted to the Latin Mass. Canon Jean-Baptise offered this testimony to be read at his requiem Mass.
After this morning’s National Tribute, I would love to be among you to remember colonel Arnaud Beltrame, whom I prepared for marriage over the past two years, and to whom I was close for the past several years. But I must preach at his funeral tomorrow morning at Caracassone. So I join my prayers to yours this evening.
You all know the joy I took in being by the side of Colonel Beltrame with Marielle, his fiancée (already his wife by civil marriage) five days ago at the hospital. We had gathered, we three, as if for the marriage that I was so soon supposed to bless. In place of a marriage, we celebrated extreme unction for a hero who is the admiration of all.
Let us praise the Lord for the strength He placed in that manly heart, that heart of an officer. Arnaud’s excellent physical state impressed his subordinates. Often, he came to see me decked out in hiking gear. You know how brilliant was his military career. More important than all else, however, he hid from no one the joy God had offered him through the rediscovery (when he was approaching thirty-three years of age) of his Catholic faith, leading to his first communion and confirmation a mere nine years ago. We spoke much of married life, evangelization, of the devil … of much else. He thirsted for knowledge and understanding.
Read more at First Things.