SS. Abdon and Sennen

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SS. Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

THEY were Persians, but coming to Rome, courageously confessed the faith of Christ in the persecution of Decius in 250. They were cruelly tormented, but the more their bodies were mangled and covered with ghastly wounds, the more were their souls adorned and beautified with divine grace, and rendered glorious in the sight of heaven. The Christians at Rome did not treat them as strangers, but as brethren united to them in the hope of the same blessed country; and after their death carefully deposited their bodies in the house of a subdeacon called Quirinus. In the reign of Constantine the Great, their relics were removed into the ancient burying place of Pontian, so called from some rich man who built it: called also, from some sign, Ad Ursum Pileatum. It afterwards received its name from SS. Abdon and Sennon. It was situated near the Tiber, on the road to Porto near the gates of Rome. The images of these martyrs with Persian bonnets and crowns on their heads, and their names, are to be seen there at this day in ancient sculpture. 1 SS. Abdon and Sennen are mentioned in the ancient Liberian Calendar, and in other Martyrologies; though their modern acts deserve no notice, as Cardinal Noris has demonstrated. 2 1
The martyrs preferred torments and death to sin, because the love of God above all things reigned in their breasts. “We say we are Christians,” says Tertullian; 3 “we proclaim it to the whole world, even under the hands of the executioner, and in the midst of all the torments you inflict upon us to compel us to unsay it. Torn and mangled, and weltering in our blood, we cry out as loud as we are able to cry, That we are worshippers of God through Christ.” Upon which Mr. Reeves observes, that no other religion ever produced any considerable number of martyrs except the true one. Do we ever read of any generation of men so greedy of martyrdom, who thought it long till they were upon the rack, and were so patient, so cheerful and steadfast under the most intolerable torments? Socrates was the only philosopher who can be said to have died for his doctrine; and what a restless posture of mind does he betray, who was esteemed the best and the wisest of the heathens! With what misgivings, and fits of hope and fear, does he deliver himself in that most famous discourse, supposed to have been made by him a little before his death, about a future state? 4 And neither Phædo, Cebes, Crito, Simmias, nor any other of his greatest friends who were present at his death, durst maintain either his innocence, or that doctrine for which he died, in the Areopagus. With what reserve did Plato himself dogmatize concerning the gods whom he worshipped in public, but denied in private! How did he dodge about, disguise himself, and say and unsay the same excellent truths! Only the Christians suffered at this rate, and they held on suffering for several hundred years together, till they had subdued the world by dying for their religion. What could engage such a number of men in such a religion, and support them in it, in defiance of death in the most shocking forms, but evident truth, and a superior grace and strength from above? 2

Note 1. Aringhi Roma Subterranea, l. 1, c. 25.
Note 2. Noris, Diss. 3, de Epochis Syro-Macedonum.
Note 3. Apol. c. 21.
Note 4. Plato in Phædo.

The Precious Blood in Heaven 

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Meditation on the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

The Precious Blood in Heaven

In Heaven, the Precious Blood of Jesus will not only share the glory of His Sacred Humanity, but it will be the source of its Divine beauty, for the glory of Jesus will then consist in having bought us with a great price. That price was none other than His Precious Blood. It will be a continual source of joy and thanksgiving to us, and will ever remind us of our ransom from sin and Hell, and of the unspeakable blessings we shall then enjoy. Grant, O Lord, that I may share that joy!

The special glory of the Precious Blood appears to be ever present in the minds of the redeemed in Heaven, and to form the subject of their songs of praise. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor and glory and power.” “Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God in Thy blood.” “We have washed our robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” If this is to be the continual song of Heaven, we must try to anticipate it on earth by cultivating a devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus.

The Precious Blood will also receive the unceasing homage of the Blessed in Heaven on account of Its having won for them all their graces. It purchased for them the glory that they now enjoy. In the overflowing of their hearts they will recognize It as the fount of all those delights that will inebriate their souls. Through It they drink of the waters of life, through It they gaze in ecstasy on the glory of Jesus, through It they are absorbed in the Beatific Vision. O my Lord! it is to Thy Precious Blood that I owe everything in this life, and shall owe my eternal happiness in the life to come. Oh, make me full of unspeakable gratitude to Thee now and for ever!