SAINT OF THE DAY: 20 JULY, 2014

Saint Margaret of Antioch

Saint Margaret of Antioch

Virgin and Martyr
(† 275)

Saint Margaret was born in the third century at Antioch of Pisidia in southern Asia Minor. Her mother died while she was an infant, and she was instructed in the Christian faith by a virtuous nurse. When her father, a pagan priest named Aedesius, learned she was a Christian, he drove her out of the house. She became a shepherdess to earn her living.

When a Roman prefect arrived in the region to persecute the Christians, Margaret was imprisoned. The prefect, fascinated by her beauty, desired to save her life and add her to the already considerable number of his wives and concubines. He decided to attempt to overcome her resistance by questioning her before an assembly consisting of virtually the entire city. Her reply to his ultimatum, offering her a choice between joy and torments, was recorded and became renowned.

She said: The true life and true joy, thanks be to God, I have already found, and have placed them in the stronghold of my heart that they may never be removed. I mean that I adore and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, that I venerate Him with confidence and will never cease to honor Him with my whole soul. Know that no human power, no torture will be able to extract from my heart so great a treasure.

When the prefect replied that someone had certainly put such ideas into her very young and inexperienced head, a long dialogue ensued, Margaret striving to make him understand the reason for her confidence, and that God Himself gives replies to those who believe in Him when they are questioned, according to His own promise.

Hearing her say that her Lord was not merely a man, but very genuinely God and Man at one same time, whose power was far above that of emperors, he became furious and sent her to be scourged, suspended in the air by her hands.

Many spectators wept and begged her to have pity on herself. She replied: Illustrious gentlemen and noble ladies, do not weaken my courage, for as the Apostle said, bad conversation corrupts good habits. But I forgive you, because you act this way out of sympathy, and do not possess the true light…

Cast into prison still alive, she was visited by a demon whom she put to flight by a sign of the cross; there followed a vision of the cross of salvation, accompanied by a voice exhorting her to persevere.

When on the following day she was subjected to the torment of burning torches, she felt no pain. She continued under other ineffectual torments to exhort the spectators to understand who it was she adored, and finally was beheaded with a large number of those whom her words had caused to believe as she did.

(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8)

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READING OF THE DAY: 20 JULY, 2014

jesus-breaking-bread

 

“Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds. “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.

When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.

The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’

He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 

He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 
Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.

It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”

He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.

He spoke to them only in parables,to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.”

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one,and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.

They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” -Matthew 13:24-43.