Today, April 23, we celebrate the life and works of St George, Patron of Boy Scouts, England, Germany, Portugal, and soldiers. If you were to sit down and read the legends and the legendary acts that surround St George, many would think there was no way this man could have possible existed, let alone been a religious man devoted to God. Historians don’t dispute that St George was indeed a real person and was martyred for his faith. Some of the legendary acts include being martyred three times, but each time he was brought back to life by the power of God. Besides this we have dead men brought to life to be baptized, wholesale conversions, armies and idols destroyed instantaneously, beams of timber suddenly bursting into leaf, and finally milk flowing instead of blood from the martyr’s severed head.
The best known legend regarding St George happens to be that of him slaying the dragon. It is said that a dragon was ravaging the land, known as Selena. He made his home in a marshy swamp and caused great horrors and problems for the townspeople if he ever came near to the village. To try to appease him, the townspeople offered up two sheep a day to keep him away and feed him. When this didn’t satisfy the beast, they would offer a human sacrifice. There came a day when the king’s daughter was chosen to be this sacrifice. He tried desperately to find another to take her place, but the villagers wouldn’t agree to this.
They dressed the girl as a bride and sent her out into the swamp. It was by chance that St George was riding by and saw the girl. He asked her what she was doing so far from the village to which she told him to leave or he would likely perish as well. St George refused and stayed with her until the Dragon appeared. Making the sign of the cross, he attacked the creature, defeating it and rescuing the girl. While the king offered him half of his kingdom, St George politely declined and told him that he needed to simply take care of his people and the church, honor the clergy and have pity on the poor. With that, he rode away from the village.
God Bless him and may we also stand strong against any foe knowing that God is by our side through everything.
Today, April 22, we celebrate the life and works of St Abdiesus. St Abdiesus was also called Hebed Jesus and was a deacon of the Catholic community in Persia that was caught up in the persecutions that were conducted at the time by King Shapur II. Even though he, as well as eight others, knew that by not denying their faith and giving King Shapur II what he wanted they would be tortured and, eventually, martyred, they still remained strong in their beliefs and stood steadfast against all that they knew would be done to them.
The others that were to accompany him in this persecution and be martyred were Abrosimus, Acepsimus, Azadanes, Azades, Bicor, Milles and a woman named Tarbula. These were people that were not of low birth for the most part. These were all Persian courtiers, priest and bishops. These were all people that were looked upon with favor. They showed themselves to be an excellent example of what it meant to be faithful to God no matter the circumstances.
God Bless them and may we also be strong in the face of diversity and never forsake our Lord in any circumstance.
Today, April 21, we celebrate the life and works of St Anselm. St Anselm was born to noble parents, where his mother took great care of him and ensure he had an early tincture of piety. This would be something he stuck with throughout his life. At the age of 15, he realized that he wanted to serve God in the monastic state and petitioned an abbot to admit him into his house. However, the abbot refused because he feared St Anselm’s father’s displeasure. Because of this, he went back to the life that he had, learning the lessons his father set aside for him, lessons that lacked the ability to cultivate and nurture the seed of become a religious man. This resulted in him falling into the ways of the world and forgetting what it was that he had desired to do for God.
With the loss of his mother, he and his father began to butt heads and it led to him leaving his country to pursue his studies elsewhere, including France. It was when he received word of his father’s untimely passing, he had to make a decision on whether he would return home to fill his father’s shoes or if he would finally follow his dreams to become a religious man. He went to Maurillus who ultimately helped him reach a decision which led to him becoming prior of Bec. He was so young when he gained this title that many of the other monks began talking about it, but he won them over with his patience and sweetness. He was a man that had extreme skill and knowledge when it came to the hearts and passions of men that it seemed almost as if he were able to see into them and discover all their virtues and vices.
While he was prior, he wrote many different works including On Truth, On Freewill, On the Fall of the Devil as well as his Monologium and his Proslogium. He wanted to spread what it was that he had learned to others around the world and knew the best method to do so would be to put it into writing. It was years later, after much trouble, that he was appointed to the position of See of Canterbury and later Archbishop. He worked hard in this role and did not make it easy on the royalty of the time. It was later that when he was desperately needed by King Robert that he was promised all these things that he requested to ensure that he would remain where he was and work with the king. However, this did not work out for the king and St Anselm remained steadfast in his desire to serve only the one and true king that is God.
God Bless him and may we also remain steadfast in our beliefs and faith, following the path the God has led out before us.
Today, April 20, we celebrate the life and works of St Marcian. St Marcian was not a good man when he first came to St Mamertinus at the monastery of Auxerre. He was a fugitive on the run from the Bourges that the Visigoths occupied. However, St Mamertinus must have seen something more to the man that came to him for help because he gave him a habit. It was a good choice as well! St Marcian proved to be the perfect example of piety and obedience.
Because he was a fugitive, St Mamertinus decided to test the man by giving him the lowest position anyone there could have and he was told to be a shepherd and cowhand for the Abbey farm at Merille. He accepted this position happily, even cheerfully. It proved to be an excellent fit for him. The animals in his charge thrived and multiplied at astonishing rates. He had a strange call with animals that could only be seen as a gift from God. Birds would flock to him and eat out of his hands, bears and wolves would leave his herds alone at a simple command. He even protected a wild boar that was being hunted on the lands.
God Bless him and may we also conduct our work cheerfully and happily, going above and beyond for each job in our lives.
Today, April 19, we celebrate the life and works of St Expeditus, Patron of emergencies, expeditious solutions, against procrastination, merchants, navigators, programmers, and hackers revolutionaries. At one time there were many people that turned towards St Expeditus as a means to make haste on something or to put an end to procrastination. Though there are historical accounts of St Expeditus being tied to two different groups of martyrs that span over the days of the 18th and 19th of April, one was connected to Rome and the other to Armenia.
There is not much known about him. There is a story of a saint that was discovered in the catacombs and was sent to a convent. The date that it was sent was written as ’spedito’ to ensure a speedy deliver. The recipients mistook this to be the name of the saint and was tied to the St Expeditus that included those two groups of martyrs from Rome and Armenia.
Regardless of this fact, these were groups of people that refused to give up their belief, their faith to simply ensure they were able to continue living.
God Bless them and may we also stand strong in our faith no matter what it was that happens in our lives, for God has a planned and leads us down the path that He has chosen for us all.
Today, April 18, we celebrate the life and works of St Apollonius the Apologist. St Apollonius was a Roman senator who was given up as a Catholic by one of his slaves. The Prefect, Sextus Tigidius Perennis, arrested him as well as punishing the slave as an informer. The Prefect demanded that St Apollonius denounce his faith, but he refused, staying strong to his belief.
The Prefect had the case remanded to the Roman senate. St Apollonius and Perennis were in a debate before the men that he had worked with for years. He outlined the beauty and the value of Catholicism in such eloquence that most were moved by it. Even so, despite that, he was condemned and martyred for his faith.
God Bless him and may we also stand strong in our beliefs even when we are faced with those that would rather hurt us than listen.
Today, April 17, we celebrate the life and works of St Anicetus. Born a Syrian from Emesa, he was a deeply devoted religious man that wanted to do all that he could for God’s work and spread that throughout the land. In about 155, he became pope and began to do all that he could and all that he saw God leading him to do to help spread Catholicism to the world. He actively opposed Marcionism and Gnosticism as well as worked to bring peace and knowledge to those under his care.
It was during his time as pope that the controversy between East and West over the date of Easter first appeared. He saw St Polycarp, who came to visit him in Rome, about this issue, but it never came to a resolution. It only seemed to accelerate and grow more heated over the next centuries.
God Bless him and may we spread God’s love to all those we come across.
Today, April 16, we celebrate the life and works of St Bernadette. Born to a poor family in France, St Bernadette was never really healthy and was actually quite frail in health. It was something that almost stopped her from following her religious life because as many saw it, she would always be falling ill and in the infirmary. Even so, she followed what was calling her, going into religion and becoming a nun. Throughout her lifetime she experience illness, some quite painful including asthma, tuberculosis of the lung and a tubercular tumor in her knee. These caused her great pain, but she didn’t stop what she felt she was being called to do.
She had visions, which in the beginning many people didn’t believe to be true. They thought that she was simply dreaming or hallucinating because she was always so sick. It wasn’t until one day that Our Lady that came to her in her visions told her to dig in this certain spot. As she did, water came forth like a spring. Over the next few days it grew larger and larger. Miracles happened to the people that drank from this water. From then on it was believed. She continued to have visions until the day the Lord called her home.
God Bless her and may we also stand true to what the Lord tells and shows us no matter those that tell us we are wrong or try to steer us down another path.
Today, April 15, we celebrate the life and works of St Rosalia. St Rosalia was born in Palermo, Spain. Even at a young age she knew that God was the way. She turned from earthly desires and focused her life on God. To do this and to ensure she wasn’t tempted by earthly desires, she ran away to hide in a cave. On these cave walls she inscribed the words, “I, Rosalia, daughter of Sinibald, Lord of Roses and Quisquina, have taken the resolution to live in this cave for the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.” She remained there for all of her life.
She lived a life in constant communion with God and giving all of her praise and glory to Him. She had no desire to return to the world and, to prove to herself that she was passed the point of desiring that which the world offered, she moved her hiding place to Mount Pellegrino, just three miles from where she grew up and had lived as a child. It was almost as if she were showing that she had truly given all of herself to God.
God Bless her and may we be as devote as she was in life.
Today, April 14, we celebrate the life and works of St Lydwine, Patron of sickness; chronically ill, ice skaters, town of Schiedam. St Lydwine did not have an easy life. Born in Schiedam, Holland, one of nine children of a working man, she fell ill as a young girl and this would only be the beginning. Throughout her life she was battling illness, but she never let it get her down. Quite the opposite. She offered up her suffering as God’s Will and never tried to speak in anger towards him. She was quite a holy and caring woman.
As if battling illness wasn’t enough, in her youth when she was ice skating, she hit another person and broke a rib. This never healed properly and would later cause her problems when an abscess formed in her side which was later rupture and cause her extreme agony. Once more, she offered it up to God and saw that it was His will that this happen to her. She wanted others to look at her and see that even though she was suffering, she still had the utmost faith in God and His direction in her life. Some of the illnesses that she suffered from include headaches, vomiting, fever, thirst, bedsores, toothaches, spasms of the muscles, blindness, neuritis and the stigmata.
God Bless her and may we also turn even our bad times over to God with the knowledge that He will lead us where He has plans for us and that there is nothing that He puts in our path that we can’t handle as long as we turn towards Him.