St. Quintinus (Quentin)

St. QuintinusSt. Quintin was a Roman, descended of a senatorian family, and is called by his historian the son of Zeno. Full of zeal for the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and burning with a holy desire to make his powerful name and the mysteries of his love and mercy known among the infidels, he left his country, renounced all wealth and posessions, and, attended by St. Lucian of Beauvais, made his way to Gaul. They preached the faith together in that country till they reached Amiens in Picardy, where they parted. Lucian went to Beauvais, and having sown the seeds of divine faith in the hearts of many, received the crown of martyrdom in that city. St. Quintin stayed at Amiens, endeavoring by his prayers and labors to makes that country a portion of our Lord”s inheritance.

Desiring nothing so earnestly as to destroy the kingdom of the devil, that the name of God might be glorified, he sought the Author of all good, without ceasing, that he would infuse his saving knowledge and holy love into the souls of those to whom he announced the divine law. God made him equally powerful in words and works, and his discourses were authorized and strongly recommended by great numbers of miracles, and illustrated and enforced by a most holy and mortified life. The reward of his charitable labors was the crown of martyrdom, which he received in the beginning of the reign of Maximian Herculeus, who was associated in the empire by Dioclesian.

He was whipped unmercifully, and then confined to a close dungeon without the liberty of receiving either comfort or assistance from the faithful. His limbs were stretched with pulleys on the rack till his joints were dislocated; his body was torn with rods of iron wire; boiled pitch and oil were poured on his back, and lighted torches applied to his sides. The holy martyr, strengthened by Him whose cause he defended, remained superior to all the cruel arts of his barbarous persecutor, and preserved a perfect tranquillity of mind in the midst of such torments as filled the spectators with horror. Finally, his body was pierced with two iron wires from the neck to the thighs, and iron nails driven under his fingernails, and in his flesh in many places, particularly into his scull; and, lastly, his head was cut off.

Martyrdom, when we are called to it, in a homage we owe to God, and a debt due to faith and religion. Happy are they whom God, by a special grace, allows to seal their fidelity to him by their blood! How great is the honor and happiness for a poor mortal man, and a poor sinner to lay down his mean miserable life for Him, who, out of infinite love for us, gave his most precious life! Martyrs are holocausts offered to the divine love and glory. They are witnesses, as the word imports in the original Greek, bearing testimony to the infinite power and goodness of God, in which they place an entire confidence, and to the truth of his holy revealed faith, which they confirm with their blood. No testimony can be more authentic, more glorious to God, more edifying to the faithful, or more convincing to infidels. It is by the constancy of martyrs that our holy religion is established. God was pleased to choose it for one of the means by which he would accomplish this great work. Are we witnesses to God and his holy religion, at least by lives of self-denial, meekness, and sanctity? Or do we not rather by a contrary deportment disgrace his holy church, of which we have the honor to be members, and expose his adorable name to the blasphemies of infidels.

(Adapted from Butler”s Lives of the Saints)

All Hallow’s Eve, Vigil of All Saints

allsaints1All Hallows’ Eve, often contracted as Hallowe’en, is the eve of All Hallows (All Saints’ Day), and the first day of Hallowmas.  According to some scholars, the Christian Church absorbed some of the Celtic practices associated with Samhain and Christianised the celebration in order to ease the Celts’ conversion to Christianity; other scholars maintain that the Christian observance of All Hallows’ Eve arose completely independent of Samhain.

On All Hallows’ Eve, Christians traditionally believed that the veil between the material world and the afterlife thinned.

In order to prevent recognition by a soul, “people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities”; in North America, this tradition is perpetuated through the practice of trick or treating. In Poland, believers are taught to pray out loud as they walk through the forests in order that the souls of the dead might find comfort; in Spain, Christian priests toll their church bells in order to allow their congregants to remember the dead on All Hallows’ Eve. The Christian Church traditionally observed Hallowe’en through a vigil “when worshipers would prepare themselves with prayers and fasting prior to the feast day itself.”  This church service is known as the Vigil of All Hallows or the Vigil of All Saints;  an initiative known as Night of Light seeks to further spread the Vigil of All Hallows throughout Christendom. After the service, “suitable festivities and entertainments” often follow, as well as a visit to the graveyard or cemetery, where flowers and candles are often placed in preparation for All Saints’ Day (All Hallows).

Source: Wikipedia

St. Marcellus the Centurion, and Companion

St MarcellusThe birthday of the emperor Maximian Herculeus was celebrated in the year 298, with extraordinary feasting and solemnity. Pompous sacrifices to the Roman gods made a considerable part of this solemnity. Marcellus, a Christian centurion or captain in the legion of Trajan, then posted in Spain, not to defile himself with taking part in those impious abominations, cast away his military belt at the head of his company, declaring aloud that he was a soldier of Jesus Christ, the eternal King.

He also threw down his arms and the vine-branch, which was the mark of his post of centurion; for the Roman officers were forbiddden to strike a soldier with any instrument except a vine-branch, which the centurions usually carried in their hands. The soldiers informed Anastasius Fortunatus, prefect of the legion, by whose order Marcellus was committed to prison. When the festival was over, this judge ordered Marcellus to be brought before him, and asked him what he meant by his late proceedings. Marcellus said, When you celebrated the emperor”s festival on the 12th before the calends of August.

(Source: The New Roman Missal, Rev. F. X. Lasance)