When Jesus deliberately began his "journey" to death, Luke says that he "set his face" to go to Jerusalem. It is this quality of rocklike courage that distinguishes the martyrs.
Most of what we know about this saint comes from the poet Prudentius. His Actshave been rather freely colored by the imagination of their compiler. But St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on St. Vincent, speaks of having the Acts of his martyrdom before him. We are at least sure of his name, his being a deacon, the place of his death and burial.
According to the story we have (and as with some of the other early martyrs the unusual devotion he inspired must have had a basis in a very heroic life), Vincent was ordained deacon by his friend St. Valerius of Zaragossa in Spain. The Roman emperors had published their edicts against the clergy in 303, and the following year against the laity. Vincent and his bishop were imprisoned in Valencia. Hunger and torture failed to break them. Like the youths in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel, chapter three), they seemed to thrive on suffering.
Valerius was sent into exile, and Dacian, the Roman governor, now turned the full force of his fury on Vincent. Tortures that sound very modern were tried. But their main effect was the progressive disintegration of Dacian himself. He had the torturers beaten because they failed.
Finally he suggested a compromise: Would Vincent at least give up the sacred books to be burned according to the emperor's edict? He would not. Torture on the gridiron continued, the prisoner remaining courageous, the torturer losing control of himself. Vincent was thrown into a filthy prison cell—and converted the jailer. Dacian wept with rage, but strangely enough, ordered the prisoner to be given some rest.
Friends among the faithful came to visit him, but he was to have no earthly rest. When they finally settled him on a comfortable bed, he went to his eternal rest.
The martyrs are heroic examples of what God's power can do. It is humanly impossible, we realize, for someone to go through tortures such as Vincent had and remain faithful. But it is equally true that by human power alone no one can remain faithful even without torture or suffering. God does not come to our rescue at isolated, "special" moments. God is supporting the super-cruisers as well as children's toy boats.
"Wherever it was that Christians were put to death, their executions did not bear the semblance of a triumph. Exteriorly they did not differ in the least from the executions of common criminals. But the moral grandeur of a martyr is essentially the same, whether he preserved his constancy in the arena before thousands of raving spectators or whether he perfected his martyrdom forsaken by all upon a pitiless flayer's field" (The Roman Catacombs, Hertling-Kirschbaum).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Lord, help me to be open to you
Lord you gave me life and the gift of freedom.
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy-hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried or angry. I acknowledge how I really am.
The Word of God
How has God's Word moved me? Has it left me cold? Has it consoled me or moved me to act in a new way? I imagine Jesus standing or sitting beside me, I turn and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
2nd Week in Ordinary Time
Stretch out your hand. (Mark 3:5)
Instead of avoiding the religious leaders' scrutiny, Jesus called forward the man with the disability and asked his detractors a pointed question: "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil?" (Mark 3:4). Understanding what he was referring to, his opponents remained silent. Their hard-heartedness angered Jesus, for it had condemned this man to continued suffering. Their failure to act amounted to evildoing.
Today, as we remember the United States Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which made legalized abortion possible in the United States, this Gospel reading is especially challenging. it tells us that our failure to act can be a form of wrongdoing. To disregard the vulnerability of the unborn, to turn a deaf ear to the words of their frightened parents—this is like passing by a wounded traveler on the other side of the road (Luke 10:29-37).
"But what can I do? What difference could I possibly make? Abortion is such a polarizing issue. How can I turn the tide?"
Jesus told the man, "Stretch out your hand" (Mark 3:5). But the man's hand was useless. He couldn't do what Jesus commanded, but he obeyed anyway. And in that obedience, he found healing.
Today, Jesus says to us, "Stretch out your hand." Stretch out your hand in prayer, asking for a change of heart among those who advocate for abortion. Stretch out your hand by offering to help at a crisis-pregnancy center, to give prayerful witness in front of an abortion clinic, or to support your parish's respect-life group. Of course your resources are inadequate, but our Father always makes possible what he commands. If salvation can come from a baby in a manger, don't ever discount how much of a difference you can make.
Faced with profound political and ideological opposition, we can easily become discouraged. But let's remember today's first reading. David slew a mighty warrior with a few stones and deep faith. We can overcome the culture of death by stretching out our hands and witnessing to the preciousness of life.
"Jesus, show me what I can do today to help build your kingdom."
1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51; Psalm 144:1-2, 9-10
Today's spanish 5minutos ended with:
"Jesus, 'confronts', the Pharisees with doing something good or not, save a life or comply with the law, even if it is a holy day of the Sabbath. The law as the Pharisees understood it turns inhumane, evil, outside of the Gospel. Jesus, with His conduct and teaching tries to break all those structures that impeded man. The Pharisees pretended that the man come to God through inhumane laws. To Jesus this was unacceptable, for He has come to free of all the law, religious practice, oppression, and slavery that impedes man to come to God.
A great spiritual master, well known in the world for his great holiness, lived in a deep cave. There he sat all day immersed in a profound meditation and thought always directed to the Lord. But one day as the holy man was doing his meditation, a mouse came from the shadow and began to chew on his sandals. The spiritual master opened his eyes super-mad, and said to it: "Why do you distract me during my meditation?". The mouse answered: "It's because I am hungry". "Get away from here", shouted the spiritual master, "how does it occur to you to annoy me, precisely while I seek a union with God?". The mouse answered:"How will you manage a union with God, if you can not put yourself in accord with me?..."
Today we read about David, and Goliath. David became a King, and of King David came the King of Kings...the Davidic Kingdom lives. King David was also born in Bethlehem, and started his kingship at the age of 30, just like Jesus, but first and always they were shepherds. David exorcised evil from Saul, and Jesus cast out demons frequently. David was betrayed and the betrayer hung himself, and the same happened with Jesus. The similarities are startling, but Jesus went beyond all this and into the realms of eternity. David was courageous destroying a giant in the name of the Lord, and Jesus destroyed an eternal giant, sin, and death. What Jesus does over-does the Old Testament. Someone called me last night aggravated with a neighbor who he claims shot his dog. The neighbor denied it even though he had threatened to do so. In retaliation, the man said he was going to shoot his old dog if he stepped into his place exclaiming "the bible says an eye for an eye". I laughed at the rants and asked "what does that poor dog have to do with all this?" It is not his fault, why would he have to die? I said the New Testament overcomes the Old, it is about loving your neighbor and forgiveness. But evil works and teaches others evil. You see, we can get in our own way, like the Pharisees, blocking ourselves with that union with God, this is called sin, and this could lead to a death eternal. The things we read are powerful, in a humbling way. Our lives are passing quickly, and the Kingdom of David stands firm, God stands firm. Let us stand on firm ground, anchored to the rock of salvation. That brings me to an interesting personal revelation I had a couple days ago. For those of us faithful, we are to remain as pillars, cornerstones for the rest to build on. In other words, there is no turning back when you are of the Kingdom, and why? The loss is two-fold in one; I lose inheritance and I lose eternity. This is not a promise, it is a fact and an act of God's justice. I felt something special reading the Holy Gospel, taken aback to what I call a vision I experienced in a cursillo, of our Lord. What I recalled today was the feeling I had during the vision of our crucified Lord...this, this man was My Father, our Father. And so, during the Holy Gospel, Our Father sat among his kids, his children. They were frustrating our Father. They didn't want their brother to be healed. The brother did want healing. That withered man could've said "no, it's OK, I don't want to make anybody mad, I'll just wait and sit down". But no. He Obeys Our Father. He stood right in the middle of everyone, front and center, and Our Father in righteous anger said "stretch out your hand". The withered man had to stretch his hand to all those who wouldn't stretch theirs to him. Peace abounds, He is healed. Were the others healed? Did the others reach out their hands? That is the question going on in the Kingdom right now in your life. What Goliath will I defeat by stretching my hands out? Afterall, Jesus stretched His all He could, and when He couldn't stretch them no more, the soldiers stretched them out even more. This is giving 110% to Our Father