Friday, June 1, 2018

His Word Today: Saint Justin

Good morning everyone,

Today, the first letter of Peter reminds us: do not be surprised that a trial of fire is occurring among you (1 Peter 4:12).  Trials by fire have been the test faced by many who have come before us, including many of the Saints.

One example can be found in the life of Saint Justin, whose liturgical Memorial is observed today.  Justin was born around the year 100 A.D into a pagan family. Justin himself stated that his initial studies left him unsatisfied due to their failure to provide a belief system that would provide enough inspiration for him.  Some time later, he chanced upon an older man who engaged him in a dialogue about God and spoke about the testimony of the prophets as being more reliable than the reasoning of philosophers.

Moved by the man's argument, Justin renounced both his former religious faith and his philosophical background, and chose instead to re-dedicate his life to the service of the Divine.  His newfound convictions were only bolstered by the ascetic lives of the early Christians and the heroic examples of the martyrs whose piety convinced him of the moral and spiritual superiority of the Christian doctrine.  As a result, he decided to travel throughout the land spreading his knowledge of Christianity as the true philosophy.  

His travels took him to Rome where he started his own school in philosophy.  During the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Justin was denounced to the authorities, tried along with six of his companions and beheaded.  Though the precise year of his death is uncertain, it can be reasonably dated between 162 and 168 A.D.

The experience of Christian martyrs, including Justin shows us that many have endured trials for the sake of their faith, so why should it be any different for us?  Choosing to be a disciple of Jesus, we must be prepared to accept not only the joy that is his promise but also the ridicule and judgement of those who may not comprehend the reasons for our faith.

Have a great day, and pray for the intercession of Saint Justin today.

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