St. Romanus, Martyr
HE was a soldier in Rome at the time of the martyrdom of St. Laurence. Seeing the joy and constancy with which that holy martyr suffered his torments, he was moved to embrace the faith, and addressing himself to St. Laurence, was instructed and baptized by him in prison. Confessing aloud what he had done, he was arraigned, condemned, and beheaded, the day before the martyrdom of St. Laurence. Thus he arrived at his crown before his guide and master. The body of St. Romanus was first buried on the road to Tibur, but his remains were translated to Lucca, where they are kept under the high altar of a beautiful church which bears his name. St. Romanus is mentioned on this day in the Antiphonary of St. Gregory, and in ancient Martyrologies. 1
The example of the martyrs and other primitive saints, by the powerful grace of God, had not less force in converting infidels than the most evident miracles. St. Justin observed to the heathens, that many of them by living among Christians, and seeing their virtue, if they did not embrace the faith, at least were worked into a change of manners, were become meek and affable, from being overbearing, violent, and passionate; and by seeing the patience, constancy, and contempt of the world which the Christians practised, had learned themselves some degree of those virtues. 1 Thus are we bound to glorify God by our lives, and Christ commands that our good works shine before men. St. Clement of Alexandria 2 tells us, that it was the usual saying of the apostle St. Matthias: “The faithful sins if his neighbour sins.” Such ought to be the zeal of every one to instruct and edify his neighbour by word and example. But woe to us on whose hearts no edifying examples or instructions, even of saints, make any impression! And still a more dreadful woe to us who by our lukewarmness and scandalous lives are to others an odour not of life, but of death, and draw the reproaches of infidels on our holy religion and its divine author! 2
Note 1. St. Justin. Apol. 1, (ol. 2,) p. 127.
Note 2. Strom. l. 1, p. 748.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VIII: August.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.