ST. VITALIS was a citizen of Milan, and is said to have been the father of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius. The divine providence conducted him to Ravenna, where he saw a Christian named Ursicinus, who was condemned to lose his head for his faith, standing aghast at the sight of death, and seeming ready to yield. Vitalis was extremely moved at this spectacle. He knew his double obligation of preferring the glory of God and the eternal salvation of his neighbor to his own corporal life: he therefore boldly and successfully encouraged Ursicinus to triumph over death, and after his martyrdom carried off his body, and respectfully interred it. The judge, whose name was Paulinus, being informed of this, caused Vitalis to be apprehended, stretched on the rack, and, after other torments, to be buried alive in a place called the Palm-tree, in Ravenna. His wife, Valeria, returning from Ravenna to Milan, was beaten to death by peasants, because she refused to join them in an idolatrous festival and riot.
Reflection.—We are not all called to the sacrifice of martyrdom; but we are all bound to make our lives a continued sacrifice of ourselves to God, and to perform every action in this perfect spirit of sacrifice. Thus we shall both live and die to God, perfectly resigned to His holy will in all His appointments.