If Mary Magdalene was the victim of misunderstanding, George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life. The story of George's slaying the dragon, rescuing the king's daughter and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa and Venice.
If Mary Magdalene was the victim of misunderstanding, George is the object of a vast amount of imagination. There is every reason to believe that he was a real martyr who suffered at Lydda in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine. The Church adheres to his memory, but not to the legends surrounding his life.
The story of George's slaying the dragon, rescuing the king's daughter and converting Libya is a 12th-century Italian fable. George was a favorite patron saint of crusaders, as well as of Eastern soldiers in earlier times. He is a patron saint of England, Portugal, Germany, Aragon, Catalonia, Genoa and Venice.
Human nature seems to crave more than cold historical data. Americans have Washington and Lincoln, but we somehow need Paul Bunyan, too. The life of St. Francis of Assisi is inspiring enough, but for centuries the Italians have found his spirit in the legends of the Fioretti, too. Santa Claus is the popular extension of the spirit of St. Nicholas. The legends about St. George are part of this yearning. Both fact and legend are human ways of illumining the mysterious truth about the One who alone is holy.
"When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the city which is to come" (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 50).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Jesus, today I call on you in a special way.
Lord, may I never take the gift
Consciousness How do I find myself today? The Word of God
How do I find myself today?
The Word of God
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Reading 1 Acts 8:26-40
The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
Responsorial Psalm PS 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Alleluia Jn 6:51
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 6:44-51
Jesus said to the crowds:
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Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares. I will open up my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask him to help me to place myself fully in his care, to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
Saint George, Martyr
Do you understand what you are reading? (Acts 8:30)
"Well, gee, let me think. I'm not familiar with that passage." Can you imagine Philip saying this to the Ethiopian he met on the road? Philip was ready for this fellow's questions about a puzzling passage from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:7-8). He knew the Scriptures, he knew Jesus, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. What else could he do but jump at the opportunity to share the gospel and introduce someone to Christ? And with God's Spirit working through Philip, the Ethiopian experienced a dramatic conversion.
This story underlines the importance of knowing Scripture. We don't need to have it all memorized—though that's not a bad idea. If we want to do more than give a cursory explanation for our faith, there's no substitute for steeping ourselves in God's word and asking the Holy Spirit to bring it to life in us every day. As we do, we'll find ourselves, like Philip, able to speak from personal experience in a way that imparts life and hope. Our words will touch people's hearts not because we have become gifted speakers, but because the Holy Spirit is speaking through us.
Wouldn't it be great to have many encounters like the one Philip had with this fellow? It's possible! People today are no less hungry for the Lord than this fellow was. We meet them every day: at work, in our neighborhoods, at school, in the grocery store. If we've opened ourselves to Scripture and to the Spirit's leading, we'll be in a position to help every searching person God places on our path.
Do you believe that the Holy Spirit wants to help people understand Scripture? While we may be given the joy of speaking words of life to those we meet, it's the Spirit who opens their hearts to embrace the message and place their faith in Jesus. So what are you waiting for? Ask the Spirit to help you increase your love and understanding of Scripture, and trust him to back you up whenever you bring its good news to others.
"Holy Spirit, open the eyes and hearts of everyone who reads Scripture. Give me wisdom and discernment to hear you and to lead people to Jesus through your word."
Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20; John 6:44-51