Stand up for your faith

Monday, March 07, 2016

 Stand up for your faith
SS. Perpetua & Felicity

Yesterday’s gospel was that of the prodigal son.   One of the person emphasized in this story is the father who was like holding his breath for his son to come back home.  He was full of forgiveness.  Today is also the feast of St. Perpetua.  Her mother was a Christian, but, her father was a pagan. Perpetua’s father was like holding his breath so that she would renounce her faith.  Both fathers loved their children but they were in different worlds. Of this, she says in her diary: “When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this …waterpot…? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So also I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’”

St. Perpetua was from Carthage in North Africa when the Emperor Septimus Severus was persecuting the Christians .  She was a well-educated noblewoman who kept a diary in which she recorded the events of her imprisonment until the day before she was beheaded during the public games in the amphitheater. At the time she was arrested for her faith, (together with her pregnant servant, Felicity) she was 22 years old, was nursing a small son and was preparing for baptism. What concerned her more than the rough treatment she experienced from the soldiers was the possible separation from her son.  However, she was allowed to have her son with her in prison. Felicity delivered her baby during the time she was imprisoned and was able to keep the child with her also.   The officer in charge was so impressed with them that he embraced Christianity.  At the execution of the two young women, their children were given to Catholic families to raise.

The two young ladies walked calmly into the arena where Leopards, wild bores and bears were loosed to attack them.  They were gored by one of the animals but not killed. They were finally beheaded after encouraging their fellow Christians :Stand up for your faith and love one another.  Don’t let our sufferings frighten you .”

Collect for today
O God, at the urging of whose love
the Martyrs Saints Perpetua and Felicity  defied their persecutor
and overcame the torments of death,
grant, we ask, by their prayers,
we may ever grow in your love

Through the intercession of these courageous women,
may we grow in love as we do the loving thing moment by moment, day by day. 

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