SS. Faustinus and Jovita, Martyrs
FAUSTINUS and JOVITA were brothers, nobly born, and zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached without fear in their city of Brescia, whilst the bishop of that place lay concealed during the persecution. The acts of their martyrdom seeming of doubtful authority, all we can affirm with certainty of them is, that their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith at Brescia in Lombardy, under the emperor Adrian. Julian, a heathen lord, apprehended them; and the emperor himself passing through Brescia, when neither threats nor torments could shake their constancy, commanded them to be beheaded. They seem to have suffered about the year 121. 1 The city of Brescia honours them as its chief patrons, and possesses their relics. A very ancient church in that city bears their name, and all martyrologies mention them. 1
The spirit of Christ is a spirit of martyrdom, at least of mortification and penance. It is always the spirit of the cross. The remains of the old man, of sin and of death, must be extinguished, before one can be made heavenly by putting on affections which are divine. What mortifies the senses and the flesh gives life to the spirit, and what weakens and subdues the body strengthens the soul. Hence the divine love infuses a spirit of mortification, patience, obedience, humility, and meekness, with a love of sufferings and contempt, in which consists the sweetness of the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the greater share we inherit in his spirit, and in the fruit of his death. To souls mortified to their senses and disengaged from earthly things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal life, and the most ardent desires of possessing him in his glory. This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come. 2
Note 1. See Tillemont, t. 2. p. 249. Pagi, &c.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. February 15.