Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Today in the Latin Calendar, we celebrate the Feast day of the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste. A story about this Feast Day can be found by Clicking Here.
After 316, the emperor Licinius decreed a persecution of Christians in the East. He threatened death if they failed to renounce their faith. In 320, forty young Christian Roman soldiers refused to sacrifice to idols and were tried before the tribunal at Sebaste, Cappadocia. The governor tried threats, bribery, and torture to persuade the young men, but they stood firm. He put the forty in prison, where it is said that Christ appeared and encouraged them to persevere.
Incensed by the soldiers’ obstinacy, the governor ordered that they be stripped and left to die standing on a frozen lake. He arranged a fire and warm bath on the shore to tempt them to apostatize. All forty signed a will, drafted by St. Meletius, the youngest, that expressed their faith, unity, and courage:
When we by God’s grace and the common prayers of all shall furnish the strife set before us, and come to the rewards of the high calling, we desire that then this will of ours may be respected . . .For although we come from different localities, we have chosen one and the same resting-place because we have set before ourselves one common strife for the prize. These things have seemed good to the Holy Spirit and have pleased us. Therefore we . . . brothers in Christ beseech our honored parents and relatives to have no grief or distress, but to respect the decision of our brotherly fellowship, and to consent heartily to our wishes, so that you may receive from our common Father the great recompense of obedience and of sharing in our sufferings. . . .
We pray with our souls and with the Divine Spirit that we may all obtain the eternal good things of God and his kingdom, now and forever and ever. Amen.
The young men did not wait to be stripped, but removed their clothes themselves. And together they prayed, “Lord, we are forty engaged in this contest. Grant that forty may receive crowns and that we may not fall short of that sacred number.” After one night’s ordeal, however, one soldier caved, but died of extreme heat in the bath, losing his martyr’s crown. But an off-duty guard, prompted by the martyrs’ courage and a dream, professed himself a Christian and took his place, thus preserving their number.
After three days the governor had the survivors’ limbs broken and their bodies burned. Officials hoped that young Meletius would save himself, but his mother herself lifted him onto the wagon, not wanting him to lose his prize. The governor had the ashes of the forty martyrs scattered into a river, but Christians secured some that became treasured relics, inspiring many throughout the Middle Ages.
The young martyrs of Sebaste have fascinated me since my youth. And their idealism and brotherhood may also intrigue today’s young people and invite them to consider seriously a commitment to Christ. “Young people,” says jour- nalist Paul Lauer, “have enough energy to climb tall mountains of faith, hope, and love. If all we offer them are little molehills, they’ll simply go elsewhere for their challenges.”
Conversing With God:
To pray is to be at home with oneself in the presence of God. It is taking hold of one's life with its flaws, weaknesses and dreams, and sharing them with God.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Desire what you told me, but let this be in a calm manner, and be patient in awaiting the Lord's mercy.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111
This 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 to this book, 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 in this first chapter, based on the 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 69: Struggles Tempt Us to Doubt
We all encounter struggles in life. The question is: “What do you do with them?” Too often, when struggles come our way we are tempted to doubt the presence of God and to doubt His merciful help. In fact, the opposite is true. God is the answer to every struggle. He alone is the source of all we need in life. He is the One who can bring peace and serenity to our soul in the midst of any and every challenge or crisis we may face (See Diary #247).
How do you deal with struggles, especially ones that turn into crises? How do you deal with daily stress and anxiety, problems and challenges, worries and failings? How do you deal with your own sins and even the sins of others? These, and many other aspects of our lives, can tempt us to turn from total trust in God and lead us to fall into doubt. Reflect upon how well you handle daily struggles and adversity. Do you remain confident each and every day that our Merciful Lord is there for you as the source of peace and serenity in the midst of a turbulent ocean? Make an act of trust in Him this day and watch as He brings calm to any storm.
Lord, You and You alone can bring peace to my soul. When I am tempted by the difficulties of this day, help me to turn to You in perfect trust placing all my cares on You. Help me to never turn from you in my despair but to know with certainty that You are always there and are the One to whom I must turn. I trust You, my Lord, I trust You. Jesus, I do trust in You.