Monday, 26 March 2018

More on Beltrame

Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, the police officer who died after taking the place of a hostage in France was a practising Catholic who had “experienced a genuine conversion” around 2008. He died on Saturday after volunteering to replace a female hostage during a terrorist attack on the Super U supermarket in Trèbes, southern France, last Friday. Beltrame served in Iraq in 2005 and received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, in 2012. Last year he was named deputy commander of anti-terror police in the Aude region.
It turns out that the lieutenant-colonel was a practising Catholic. The fact is that he did not hide his faith, and that he radiated it, and bore witness to it. Beltrame’s sacrifice can be compared to that of St Maximilian Kolbe, who died in 1941 after volunteering to take the place of a fellow prisoner condemned to death at Auschwitz.
Beltrame and his fiancée, Marielle, were preparing to receive the sacrament of marriage, They were married civilly on August 27, 2016 and had their religious wedding planned for June 9, this year. They’ve been attending an abbey regularly to participate in Masses, services and teachings, especially to a group of residences, at Notre Dame de Cana. Intelligent, sporty, voluble and lively, Arnaud spoke readily of his conversion. Born into a family with little practice, he experienced a genuine conversion around 2008, at almost 33 years old. He received First Communion and Confirmation after two years of catechumenate, in 2010. After a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d’Auray in 2015, where he asked the Virgin Mary to help him to meet the woman of his life, he became friends with Marielle, whose faith is deep and discreet. Passionate about the gendarmerie, he has always had a passion for France, her greatness, her history and her Christian roots that he rediscovered with his conversion. By substituting himself for the hostages, he was probably motivated by a commitment to gallantry as an officer, because for him being a policeman meant protecting. But he knew the incredible risk that he was taking.
He knew that if his life began to belong to Marielle, it was also to God, to France, to his brothers in danger of death. I believe that only a Christian faith animated by charity could ask for this superhuman sacrifice. Arnaud will never now have children in life. But his astonishing heroism will inspire many imitators, ready to give of themselves to France and her Christian joy.

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