She stood there, a picture of calm repose, all eyes on her as her interrogator yelled, “Do you deny that the Catholic Church is the holy church of God and that her doctrines are to be held above all else, including the Bible?”
Without wavering and looking at him straight in the face, she testified, “Yes, I do.” There was a gasp in the courtroom.
“Why is it heresy to say that it is not the church that has authority over scripture but that it is the Word of God that is the authority? Our Lord Himself rebuked those who placed the commandments of men above the commandments of God.”
“Do you deny that the Pope is the head of the Church?”
“Yes. Christ is the head of the church. The Bible teaches that the church is His body.”
“The Pope is the head of the Catholic Church which is the church Christ Himself founded on St. Peter.”
“The church is Christ’s. He gave His life for her. He shed His blood for her. The Pope did none of these things. And Christ built the church upon Himself not upon a mere mortal…”
“Heresy!” He blustered. “You will recant these heresies or face execution.”
She lifted her head high and spoke in a loud confident voice, “I am ready to die for my Savior.”
The Bishop looked startled. He clearly didn’t expect that answer. He seemed at a loss for words and then he caught himself. He waved the papers at her and yelled, “You will recant these heresies against the Catholic Church and his holiness, the Pope.”
“No, sir, I will not. I will not deny my Lord and Savior who spent three and a half years preaching from the very scriptures you would have me deny. I will not acknowledge the Pope as the head of this or any church. And I will not put the teachings of the church above those of God. If that is heresy, then I am guilty. And if that means death, then I deserve to die. To die for Christ’s sake is an honor. He gave His life for me so I shall count it a blessing to give mine for Him.”
The Bishop glared at her for a few moments then he swirled around and barked at the guards, “Take her back to her cell.”
The guards led her away and shoved her in the dark and damp cell. When they were gone, she got on her knees and prayed. “Oh, heavenly Father, I thank You for Your grace which has carried me through this storm. I am being judged by men but Your are the Judge of all humanity. You have declared me innocent in Your court because of the blood of Your Son which was shed for me. I know that I am covered in His righteousness and that should they take my life from me today, I will not perish but have everlasting life. I look forward to the blessed day when I will see my Savior face to face.”
Calmness came over her and she knew that she was in the presence of the Lord. She was ready to face whatever tempest was to come. The next morning, they came and led her back to the courtroom. The Bishop paced about like a caged animal before he faced her. “Do you recant your words which are heresies against the Catholic Church and His Holiness the Pope?
She stood there with an aura about her. “No. I will not recant. I stand on my belief that the Holy Scriptures are the only authority by which we must adhere to.”
“This court finds you guilty of heresy and the punishment is death. Take her to the marketplace.”
She was taken to the marketplace and tied to a stake. As she smelt the fire licking the bramble at the foot of the stake, she raised her face towards the sky and closed her eyes. Her lips moved in prayer. “Into Your hands, I commit my spirit.” Then it was over in a matter of minutes. The executioner, having mercy on her, had added gun powder to the wood to ensure a quick death. Even unto the end, God had shown her mercy.
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