Priest and Martyr
(† end of the Third Century)
The Church celebrates on this day the memory of Saint Eusebius, who among the Christians of his time distinguished himself by his spirit of prayer and his apostolic virtues. When he was arraigned, Maxentius, the governor of the Province, interrogated him and was furious at the Saint’s constancy while he was placed on the rack and his sides were torn with iron hooks. He sentenced him to die by fire at the stake; but his unusual serenity when going to the place of execution caused him to be summoned back to the tribunal, obviously by a particular disposition of Providence.
The Emperor himself being in the region, the governor went to him and told him the prisoner asked to be taken before him. The reason for this request was that there had not been any recent edicts published against the Christians. Saint Eusebius was advanced in age, and the emperor Maximian said, after questioning him, What harm is there that this man should adore the God he talks of as superior to all the others? But the brutal Maxentius would not listen, and, like Pilate facing Christ, the Emperor told the persecutors of the accused man to judge the affair themselves. Maxentius therefore sentenced him to be decapitated. Eusebius, hearing the sentence, said aloud, I thank Your goodness and praise Your power, O Lord Jesus Christ, because in calling me to prove my fidelity, You have treated me as one of Yours. His martyrdom occurred towards the end of the third century.
Reflection: Let us learn, from the example of the Saints, courage in the service of God. He calls upon us to endure suffering of body and of mind, if it is necessary, to prove our fidelity to Him; and He promises to support us by His strength, His light, and His heavenly consolation.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 9