Monday, March 18, 2013

The Goose Is Cooked

The Goose Is Cooked

More observations about the reformer, Jon Huss, the man with foes in high places. The movement that was to become the Moravian Church owes its inspiration and beginning to Master Hus. 

In the last Moravian post we learned that Hus, a Roman Catholic priest, was judged a heretic and sentenced to a cruel death.

Hus went as requested to the council at Constance. He was optimistic, sending a letter to friends joking that 'the goose is not yet cooked and it not afraid of being cooked.'" 

The council before whom he stood in judgment made an offer to Hus - "recant or die." Hus turned his face from his judges and prepared for his final journey on earth.

The council vested Jon Hus in Eucharistic vestments and defrocked him. His vestments removed with appropriate curses which concluded with the words, "we commit your soul to the Devil". A paper crown was placed on his head with a foul inscription and marched to the place of death.

"He was bound to the stake with a sooty chain wrapped around his neck. Wood was piled to his chin ... He was given one final chance to save his life by recanting all his errors and heresies ..."

Hus is recorded to have said, "God is my witness that ... the principal intention of my preaching and of all my other acts or writings was solely that I might turn men from sin. And in that truth of the Gospel that I wrote, taught, and preached in accordance with the sayings and expositions of the holy doctors, I am willing gladly to die today."

"The signal was given. The executioner set the pyre ablaze. From the smoke and flames that shot upward into the summer sky, Hus's voice could be heard once more, this time in song. 'Jesus, son of the living God, have mercy one me.' Master Jan Hus sang these words three times. The goose was cooked. He died singing."

That is not the end of the story.

Pope John Paul II - 1993

In 1999 Pope John Paul II told an international symposium, "Today ... I feel the need to express deep regret for the cruel death inflicted on Jan Hus.' He commended Hus's 'moral courage in the face of adversity and death." -- Portions adapted from Issue 68 (Vol. XIX, No 4), of Christian History magazine.

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