From the Letter to University Professors at Oxford by Blessed Dominic Barberi -
Many years ago – yes, more than twenty five years ago – God in his goodness kindled in my heart a great love for my brethren, above all for my English brothers and sisters. From that day to this I have never ceased to pray for them.
Although I have never seen you with the eyes of the flesh, I have always kept you close to my heart. How many times have I prayed to the Lord for you! How many times, in the anguish of my heart, have I implored: How long, O Lord, you will forget us? When will the day come when there shall be one fold and one shepherd? The coastlands, Lord, shall hope in you, confident in your name.
Your university, if I mistake not, is a seedbed of Catholicity not only for England but for many other parts of the world. From it shall spring fruits of which it will be said: They have gone across the seas. I do not think I err in saying that, in the first conversion of the world, God who disposes all things mightily and sweetly, arranged that all nations should be united with one imperial government, Rome, so that no one was ignorant of what Rome taught. So now, God wishing to diffuse his light throughout the world, has disposed that the best scholars should be located in one university, and that no corner of the world should fail to hear what the men of Oxford are saying. I formed this opinion, after a careful reading of some of your publications, when I visited England for the first time.
Your love and concern for your most esteemed country have touched my heart. If your country is dear to me, a foreigner, how dear must it be to you who were born there! The salvation of your beloved England is worthy of any sacrifice; what sacrifice can we refuse it when Christ shed his blood to bless it? If an individual soul deserves the sacrifice of our life, how much more a whole nation, particularly one so great and renowned? Tell me, then, dear brothers, what sacrifice you want me to make for you. With God’s help, I will make it, I wish God would allow me to die for your salvation! Not only would I do this, but many other Catholics as well. Since I cannot shed my blood for you, however, let me at least shed my tears.
Not only does the Church militant on earth pray for us, but also the triumphant Church in heaven. This beautiful hope is based on the Church’s faith in the communion of saints and the intercession of those who reign with Christ in heaven. The saints, particularly Saints Gregory, Augustine, Anselm and Thomas, pray for England as they have always done, even, I am convinced, after the regrettable separation.
The time shall surely come when we will all with once voice gloryify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. That time is not far distant. We shall see it with our own eyes. I feel this hope in the depths of my soul. In the meantime, let us do penance in sackcloth and ashes, as we wait the blessed hope. Not only the French, but also Italians, Spaniards, Germans and all other Catholics join you in this. With you they hope, with you they long to see the day when it will be possible to embrace one another as brothers and sisters and to be gatheed into one fold under one shepherd. Let there be one fold and one shepherd soon! Amen. Amen.
(Translation from the Latin typewritten copy in AGCP B. 1, VIII; p. 2,7,30, 32-33)
- taken from the Liturgy of the Hours, Proper Offices of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, p. 118-120