St. Romanus

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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.

St. Emygdius

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St. Emygdius

Bishop and Martyr
(† 304)

Raised a pagan, Emygdius converted to Christianity some time near the end of the third century. He then travelled to Rome, where he tirelessly worked to convert other pagans. Emygdius willingly risked his own safety to promote his faith. He once stormed a temple and destroyed a statue of Aesculapius, the Roman god of healing. This act angered many Romans, who clamoured for retribution. Although some records say Emygdius turned to Pope Marcellus for protection, it is now believed that Emygdius probably received help from Marcellus’s predecessor named Marcellinus.

The Pope ordained Emygdius, made him a bishop, and then sent him to Ascoli Piceno, a region just northeast of Rome. Once again, Emygdius eagerly spread the Word of God and converted many. But in 304, the bishop was swept up in the persecution of Christians carried out by Emperor Diocletian, who ordered Emgydius and several of his companions to be beheaded.

Emygdius became particularly venerated in Italy. He was said to offer protection against earthquakes, and Catholics in other areas prone to quakes also turned to him for protection. In 1863, the Vatican approved a request from Catholics in California to name Emygdius the patron saint of what is now the Los Angeles diocese. Several statues of the saint still stand in California, and several parishes bear his name.

Lord God,
Thou used Thy servant Emygdius to spread the Gospel
and do Thy will.
Though faced with tremendous obstacles,
the saint acted with courage
and unwavering devotion to Thee.
Through Thee and Thy son Jesus Christ,
may the Holy Ghost always fill me with a similar fire
to do whatever I must to glorify Thy name.

Amen.

The Bad Death

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The Bad Death
by St. John Vianney

If you ask me what most people understand by a bad death, I will reply: “When a person dies in the prime of life, married, enjoying good health, having wealth in abundance, and leaves children and a wife desolate, there is no doubt but that such a death is very tragic.” King Ezechiel said: “What, my God! It is necessary that I die in the midst of my years, in the prime of my life!” And the Prophet-King asks God not to take him in his prime. Others say that to die at the hands of the executioner on the gallows is a bad death. Others say that a sudden death is a bad death, as, for instance, to be killed in some disaster, or to be drowned, or to fall from a high building and be killed. And then some say that the worst thing is to die of some horrible disease, like the plague or some other contagious malady. Continue reading

Sermon on the Priesthood by Saint John Vianney

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The Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars

Sermon on the Priesthood
from The Little Catechism of the Cure of Ars
by Saint John Vianney 1786-1859

My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders. It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you, and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God. What is a priest! A man who holds the place of God–a man who is invested with all the powers of God. “Go,” said Our Lord to the priest; “as My Father sent Me, I send you. All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth. Go then, teach all nations. . . . He who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me. ” When the priest remits sins, he does not say, “God pardons you”; he says, “I absolve you. “At the Consecration, he does not say, “This is the Body of Our Lord;” he says, “This is My Body.” St. Bernard tells us that everything has come to us through Mary; and we may also say that everything has come to us through the priest; yes, all happiness, all graces, all heavenly gifts. If we had not the Sacrament of Orders, we should not have Our Lord. Who placed Him there, in that tabernacle? It was the priest. Who was it that received your soul, on its entrance into life? The priest. Who nourishes it, to give it strength to make its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing that soul, for the last time, in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest–always the priest. And if that soul comes to the point of death, who will raise it up, who will restore it to calmness and peace? Again the priest. You cannot recall one single blessing from God without finding, side by side with this recollection, the image of the priest. Continue reading

Saint John Vianney

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Saint John Vianney
Curé of Ars, Confessor

(1786-1859)

It has been said of more than one person, of more than one Saint, that they were the prodigies of their century. This is perhaps true of no one more than of the Curé of Ars. This man, who was so remarkably humble, for about thirty years saw the whole world, as it were, attentive to his virtues, the entire Christian world at his feet. He is certainly a marvel of the pastoral apostolate and sanctity.

Born three years before the French Revolution into a humble and profoundly Christian family, at Dardilly near Lyons, he was at first a little shepherd, occupied also with the cultivation of the land. From his earliest years he was noted for his candor, piety, love for the Blessed Virgin, and charity for the poor. He desired to become a priest and reached the altar through his piety rather than through his talents. Lack of schooling during the Revolution had made Latin grammar virtually inaccessible to his best efforts. The bishop asked, however, whether he was pious; and when he heard that he said his Rosary like an Angel, ordained him. Continue reading