Monday, 25 January 2010

The saints Juventius and Maximinus, Martyrs, January 25

Rosary Mysteries today: Annunciation Of Gabriel unto Mary, Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Birth of our Lord, Presentation, Finding in the temple.
Saints and feats celebrated today: Apolo; Artemas; The Conversion of Saint Paul; Poppo; Praejectus; Publius; Juventius and Maximinus; According to Butler’s lives of the Saints.

Catholic News Agency on today’s liturgy:

Conversion of St. Paul

Psalm - Ps 117:1bc, 2
First Reading - Acts 9:1-22

Gospel - Mk 16:15-18

(Journey in a Broken World)

[I have based my research into Juventius and Maximinus upon the history recorded in the great resource, the Butler’s lives of Saints, a great work, we use even today, after it appeared in the 18th Century. The version I am using is a mid 20th century abridgement with imprimatur. Commentary herein is my own, and holds no imprimatur!]

The saints Juventius and Maximinus, Martyrs, January 25

That is true which testifies in the heart that: it was love of the Christian soul and spirit, and therefore of Christ himself, which caused these two compassionate saints their deaths, who, at the table, while their evil master, Julian the Apostate, was at war against the Persians, these two noted officers in his foot-guards, bemoaned the terrible penalties, and unjust laws the Apostate Julian had put against the Christians, and therefore against Christ himself.

Wishing instead for any punishment, extending even to death, rather than see that which is holy treated with contempt, in the face of the Christian persecuted, who by his life represents Christ, they could see the sanity of their choice, and thus would not withdraw their just criticism of the Emperor, by any means, nor would these just companions of God who watches from heaven worship any created idol of man, by sacrifices asked of them by the maniac emperor.

For their empathy with their brothers, which could have been ignored to their advancement in the eyes of the world, these martyrs were scourged mercilessly, and their estates, were cruelly confiscated by the Christ-persecuting emperor. They were beheaded in prison in Antioch, on this day the 25th of January, in the year 363 AD. Despite the great risk endured for it, the Christians stole the corpses of these Godly martyrs, and after the monstrous evil tyrant Julian was slain in his campaign into Persia, on the 26th of June the following year, their brave heroism was done justice through the construction of what must have been a magnificent tomb. Of the two martyrs, St Chrysostom pronounced boldly, “They support the church as pillars, defend it as towers, and repel all assaults as rocks. Let us visit them frequently, let us touch their shrine, and embrace their relics with confidence, that we may obtain from thence some benediction [blessing]. For as soldiers, showing to the king the wounds which they have received for his battles, speak with confidence, so they, by an humble representation of their past sufferings for Christ, obtain whatever they ask of the king of heaven.”

The man who is prepared to die for his nation, his emperor or his wife or that he loves- must first be prepared to die for them for the sake of Christ whom he really serves, in his love of them, but should it come between service to them and to Christ, likewise the Christian is a soldier, who must willingly accept death rather than deny Christ. Christ too is the Church, Christ too is the Eucharist, Christ too is the Godly life of a saint. Christ must never be denied, neither in private, nor in public, nor even in the heart of man.

It was their empathy with their brothers, whom they recognized as Holy and worthy of dignity and respect, that drove these two great martyrs, to firstly endure physical torture, and the taking of what they owned by a bloodthirsty emperor, and finally, to endure even death. They are justly martyrs, who die for the sake of their Christian brothers, for as another feast of this day reminds us, the man who persecutes Christianity, firstly persecutes Christ. For, as the bible rightly claims, Christ is the head of the church, which is his true body. With Apostles at the top, or today, their successors.

These martyrs are great men, yet the lesson of St Chrysostom must neither be forgotten, for those who are righteous, God hears their prayer, it is why we approach these, allowing God to answer them even after they have been taken into death, and thus preaching the gospel in our very prayers.

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