St. Caius, Pope and Martyr
HE succeeded St. Eutychian in the apostolic see, in 283. The church then enjoyed a calm, but was soon afterwards disturbed by a tumultuous persecution for two years, on the death of Carinus. St. Caius encouraged St. Sebastian and the other martyrs and confessors. However, to preserve himself for his flock, he withdrew for a time to avoid the fury of the storm. The ancient pontificals say he was of Dalmatia, and related to the emperor Dioclesian. Having sat twelve years, four months, and seven days, he died on the 21st of April, 296, and was interred on the 22nd, on which day his name is honoured in the Liberian Calendar. His sufferings obtained him the title of martyr, as Orsi takes notice. 1
What had not these primitive saints to suffer not only from the persecutions of infidel princes and magistrates, but also from the ignorance, stupidity, jealousy, and malice of many whom they laboured daily to gain to Christ, and from the manifold trials and dangers of so many souls in their dear flock whom they bore in their hearts, and whose sufferings they felt much more severely than their own! We are not to be surprised.—These were so many special effects of a most tender love and mercy in Him by whose providence these trials were sent them; they were the steps by which their souls were raised to the summit of perfect virtue. We perhaps daily meet with domestic persecutions and contradictions, and look upon them as obstacles to our progress in the way of perfection, as thorns in our road. They may, indeed, be called thorns, but they produce and guard the sweetest and most beautiful flowers of virtue. It is owing to our sloth, cowardice, and impatience; it is our fault if they are hindrances of what they are designed by God to advance and perfect in our souls. Virtues exercised in prosperity, which are fair to the eye, and applauded by men, are usually false or superficial. A perpetual spring would produce only leaves and flowers, and bring no fruit to maturity. To understand the incomparable value and merit of the little crosses of which we are so apt to complain, we must not lose sight of the saints. Those Christian heroes, of whom the world was not worthy, all suffered, and were persecuted many ways. These crosses both purchased and ensured to them their greatest crowns. 2
Note 1. T. 3, l. 8, n. 46, p. 500.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. April 22.