Blog Post - January 19th

SS. Maurius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum| S. Canute IV of Denmark| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection




Today in the Latin Calendar we celebrate the Feast Day of SS. Maurius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum Martyrs. A Story about this Feast Day can be found below:

Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum, Martyrs

Sts. Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum (died 270) four saints of the same family (a husband, his wife, and their two sons). They came from Persia to Rome, and were martyred in 270 for sympathizing with and burying the bodies of Christians.

The family’s assistance to the Christians exposed them to persecution. They were seized and delivered to the judge Muscianus or Marcianus, who, unable to persuade them to abjure their faith, condemned them to various tortures. Despite the torture, the saints refused to abjure. Maris and his two sons were thus beheaded on the Via Cornelia, and their bodies were burnt. Martha meanwhile was killed at a place called in Nimpha or Nymphae Catabassi (later called Santa Ninfa, thirteen miles from Rome. Tradition states that Martha was cast into a well.


Another Story


Let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and be delighted with gladness. * Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face. (Psalm 67:4,2 from the Introit of Mass)


Even though these holy saints lived and suffered marytrdom nearly 2,000 years ago, we would do well by recalling their holiness each year on their feastday of January 19th. It is a modern error to regard only the most recent saints or most recent events as applicable to us - we can learn from the lives of all of the saints from all times.


The following lesson is given in the office:


Marius, a Persian of noble birth, came to Rome, under the emperor Claudius, to venerate the sepulchers of the martyrs in the company of his wife Martha, a noble lady, and their two sons Audifax and Abachum. There they ministered to the Christians in prison, maintaining them both by their wealth and their own personal service, and buried the bodies of the saints. They were all accordingly arrested, and since they could not be induced by fear or threats to sacrifice to the gods, they were first beaten with clubs, then dragged about with ropes, burnt with hot iron plates and torn with hooks. Lastly their hands were cut off and tied about their necks, and they were led through the city and by the Via Cornelia to the place called Nymphe, thirteen miles from Rome, where they were put to death. The first to die was Martha, who had earnestly exhorted her husband and sons to bear their suffering with constancy for the faith of Jesus Christ. Then the others were beheaded in the same sandpit, and their bodies were thrown into the fire. Felicitas, a noble Roman matron, took them when they were half burned and buried them in her own estate.

Also today, in the Latin Calendar we commemorate the Feast Day of S. Canute IV of Denmark, King and Martyr. A story about this Feast day can be found below:

ST. CANUTUS (CANUTE) IV, KING AND MARTYR

St. Canutus King of Denmark, was endowed with excellent qualities of both mind and body. It is hard to say whether he excelled more in courage or in conduct and skill in war; but his singular piety eclipsed all his other endowments. He cleared the seas of pirates, and subdued several neighboring provinces which infested Denmark with their incursions. The kingdom of Denmark was elective till the year 1660, and, when the father of Canutus died, his eldest brother, Harold, was called to the throne. Harold died after reigning for two years, and Canutus was chosen to succeed him. He began his reign by a successful war against the troublesome, barbarous enemies of the state, and by planting the faith in the conquered provinces. Amid the glory of his victories he humbly prostrated himself at the foot of the crucifix, laying there his diadem, and offering himself and his kingdom to the King of kings. After having provided for the peace and safety of his country, he married Eltha, daughter of Robert, Earl of Flanders, who proved a spouse worthy of him. His next concern was to reform abuses at home. For this purpose he enacted severe but necessary laws for the strict administration of justice, and repressed the violence and tyranny of the great, without respect to persons. He countenanced and honored holy men, and granted many privileges and immunities to the clergy. His charity and tenderness towards his subjects made him study by all possible ways to make them a happy people. He showed a royal munificence in building and adorning churches, and gave the crown which he wore, of exceeding great value, to a church in his capital and place of residence, where the kings of Denmark are yet buried. To the virtues which constitute a great king, Cantus added those which prove the great saint. A rebellion having sprung up in his kingdom, the king was surprised at church by the rebels. Perceiving his danger, he confessed his sins at the foot of the altar, and received Holy Communion. Stretching out his arms before the altar, the Saint fervently recommended his soul to his Creator; in this posture he was struck by a javelin thrown through a window, and fell a victim for Christ’s sake.


Another Story


Saint Canute, King and Martyr († 1086, Feast—January 19)


The Magi Kings, as we have already observed, have been followed to the Crib of Jesus by saintly Christian monarchs; and it was just that these should be represented on the Church's Calendar during the Season which is consecrated to the Mystery of His Birth. The 11th century is one of the most glorious of the Christian era, and gave, both to the Church and the various states of Europe, a great number of saintly Kings. Among them St. Canute IV of Denmark stands pre-eminent by reason of the halo of his martyrdom. He had every quality which forms a Christian prince: he was a zealous propagator of the Faith of Christ, he was a brave warrior, he was pious, and he was charitable to the poor. His zeal for the Church (and in those days Her rights were counted as the rights of the people) was made the pretext for putting him to death: he died in the midst of a sedition as a victim sacrificed for his people's sake. His offering to the new-born King was that of his blood; and in exchange for the perishable crown he lost, he received that which the Church gives to her Martyrs, and which can never be taken away. The history of Denmark in the 11th century is scarce known by the rest of the world; but the glory of that county's having had one of her kings a Martyr is known throughout the whole Church. This power, possessed by the Spouse of Christ, of conferring honor on the name and actions of the servants and friends of God, is one of the grandest spectacles out of Heaven; for when She holds up a name as worthy of honor, that name becomes immortalized, whether he who bore it were a powerful king or the poorest peasant. We find the following life of this holy King formerly given in the Lessons of the Breviary:


St. Canute IV, son of Sweyn Estrithius, King of Denmark, was conspicuous for his faith, piety, and purity of life, and even from his infancy gave proof of exceeding holiness. Having been elected to the throne held by his father, he at once began zealously to promote religion, to add to the revenues of the Churches, and to provide the same with costly fittings and furniture. Being also inflamed with zeal for the propagation of the Faith, he did not refuse to enter into just war with barbarous nations, which, when he had conquered and subdued, he subjected to the Laws of Christ. Having obtained several glorious victories, and increased the riches of his treasury, he laid his regal diadem at the feet of a Crucifix, offering himself and his kingdom to Him Who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He chastised his body by fasting, hair-shirts and disciplines. He was assiduous in prayer and contemplation, generous in his alms to the poor, and ever kind to all, never deviating from the path of justice and the Divine Commandments.


By these and other such virtues the holy King made rapid strides to the summit of perfection. Now it happened that William, Duke of Normandy, invaded the Kingdom of England with a formidable army, and the English sought assistance from the Danes. The King resolved to grant them his aid, and entrusted the expedition to his brother Olaf. But he, from the desire he had of getting possession of the throne, turned his forces against the King, and stirred up the soldiers and the people to rebellion. Neither were pretexts wanting for this rebellion; for the King had issued laws commanding the payment of ecclesiastical tithes, the observance of the Commandments of God and His Church, and the infliction of penalties on defaulters; all which were made use of by perverse and wicked malcontents, for spreading discontent, exciting the people to revolt, and at last, to plot the death of the saintly King.


Foreknowing what was to happen, the King saw that he would soon be put to death for justice' sake. Having foretold it, he set out to Obdense, where, entering into the Church of St. Alban the Martyr, as the place of combat, he fortified himself with the Sacraments, and commended this his last struggle to the Lord. He had not long been there, when a band of conspirators arrived. They endeavored to set fire to the Church, to burst open the doors, and to force an entrance. But failing in this, they scaled the windows, and with great violence threw a shower of stones and arrows upon the holy King, who was on his knees, praying for his enemies. Wounded by the stones and arrows, and at last pierced through with a spear, he was crowned with a glorious martyrdom, and fell before the altar with his arms outstretched, during the reign of Pope St. Gregory VII. God showed how glorious was His Martyr; and Denmark was afflicted with a great famine and various calamities, in punishment for the sacrilegious murder which had been perpetrated. Many persons, who were afflicted with various maladies, found aid and health by praying at the tomb of the Martyr. On one occasion, when the Queen endeavored during the night to take up his body secretly and carry it to another place, she was deterred from her design by being struck with fear at the sight of a most brilliant light, which came down from Heaven.


O holy King! The Sun of Justice had risen upon thy country, and all thy ambition was that thy people might enjoy the fullness of its light and warmth. Like the Magi of the East, thou didst lay thy crown at the feet of the Emmanuel, and at length didst offer thy very life in His service and in that of His Church. But thy people were not worthy of thee; they shed thy blood, as the ungrateful Israel shed the Blood of the Just One Who is now born unto us, and Whose sweet Infancy we are now celebrating. Thou didst offer thy martyrdom for the sins of thy people; offer it now also for them, that they may recover the true Faith they have so long lost. Pray for all who strive to persevere as true Catholics in our times; and, as thou didst give thy life in defense of the Commandments of God and His Church, and especially of the duty of tithing, obtain for the faithful a respect for the true Church and fidelity in their duties towards Her. Ask for us of the Divine Infant a devotedness in His cause like that which glowed in thy breast; and since we have not a crown to lay at His Feet, pray for us that we may be generous enough to give Him our hearts.

Daily Meditation

The Blind Shall See:

The Bible gives me a deep, comforting sense that "things seen are temporal, and things unseen are eternal."--Helen Keller

Quote by S. Padre Pio:

I want to cause you that is, to arouse in you a sense of liveliest gratitude toward the giver of all good things, and, to exhort you to confide more and more, to abandon yourself to Divine Providence.

Divine Mercy Reflection

Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111


The first notebook of Saint Faustina begins her private revelations given from the Heart of Jesus to her. She writes in a beautiful and simple way. Though, as mentioned in the introduction, her actual words are not quoted in these reflections that follow, the messages that she received and articulated are presented.


In truth, her messages are those contained in Sacred Scripture and in the Tradition of our Church. And if you were to read through the lives and teachings of the saints, you would find the same revelations. God has always spoken to us throughout the ages. He speaks the one Message of Truth, and He reveals that Message in love. The revelations to Saint Faustina are one new way that God continues to speak and reveal Himself to us, His sons and daughters.


The reflections based on her first notebook, are intentionally short and focused. They are a way for you, the reader, to slowly and carefully listen to the Heart of God spoken to this great saint. Read these reflections slowly and prayerfully. Ponder them throughout the day and allow the Lord to speak to You the message He wants to give.


Reflection 18: Mercy Given Through Priests


Mercy is given in numerous ways. Among the many channels of Mercy, seek it through God’s holy priests. Let His priest listen to you, speak to you and direct you. Priests are weak and are sinners. But in their weakness they are given a special grace to direct souls. The priesthood is one of the most visible channels of Mercy in our world. Pray for priests and let God speak to you through them (See Diary #12).


Call to mind the priests God has placed in your life. Pray for them, support them and encourage them, but also be open to the ways God pours forth His Mercy on you through them. God comes to you through them in countless ways if you but have eyes to see and ears to hear.


Lord, I pray, today, for all priests. May your sons become holy and radiant in all that they do. Forgive their sins and fill them with virtue. Help them speak Your Word and administer Your Mercy with fidelity and zeal. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of the sacred priesthood. Jesus, I trust in You.”

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