Jul 19, 2021, 3:19:45 AMJul 19
Zeal in Amending our Lives (8)
How do so many other religious who are confined in cloistered
discipline get along? They seldom go out, they live in contemplation,
their food is poor, their clothing coarse, they work hard, they speak
but little, keep long vigils, rise early, pray much, read frequently,
and subject themselves to all sorts of discipline. Think of the
Carthusians and the Cistercians, the monks and nuns of different
orders, how every night they rise to sing praise to the Lord. It would
be a shame if you should grow lazy in such holy service when so many
religious have already begun to rejoice in God.
'A Kempis:--Imitation of Christ Book 1, Ch 25
July 19th - Saints Justa and Rufina
Saint Justa (268-287) and Saint Rufina (270-287) were virgins of the
Church, and martyrs for the faith. These two sisters worked tirelessly
throughout their brief lives to serve the poor, standing up for their
beliefs, and fearlessly dying rather than betray their faith in
Born in Seville, Spain, the sisters Justa and Rufina were artists--the
makers of fine earthenware pottery, the sale of which supported not
only these holy young women, but many of the city’s poor. Each day,
Justa and Rufina would rise early, creating beautiful pots and
vessels, which they would then carry on their shoulders to the
marketplace. The proceeds from their sales were invariably donated or
given away to those in need.
Born into a poor, but pious Christian family, Justa and Rufina were
educated in their home regarding the faith. At a young age, both
pledged their virginity, becoming brides of Christ. Their deep faith
extended to their work--the sisters refused to sell their wares to
those who would use them in pagan celebrations or in sacrifice to the
Roman gods. During the festival of the goddess Venus, the townspeople
were so angered by the young women, they overturned their carts,
smashing all of their creations. In return, Justa and Rufina spoke out
against the pagan rites, overturning a statue of Venus in the process.
They were arrested and imprisoned on the spot.
The city’s prefect, Diogenianus, encouraged by the rampant persecution
of Christians under orders of the Emperor, ordered the holy women
tortured until they renounced their faith in Christ. First, they were
stretched on the rack, with their sides raked with iron hooks. Near
their instruments of torture, an idol was placed, incense at the
ready. The sisters were told that if they would offer sacrifice to the
idol, they would be freed. Neither saint wavered in her faith,
refusing to pay homage to the idol, and embracing their punishments.
Following their horrific torture, the women were ordered to walk
barefoot to Sierra Morena, a distant journey, without food or water.
There, they were again thrown into prison, neither their spirits nor
their faith broken.
Having no success in encouraging the saints to renounce Christ,
Diogenianus ordered Justa killed, believing that her death would break
Rufina’s resolve. Justa was killed upon the rack, her body thrown into
a well. Rufina, deeply grieved, continued to express her faith in
Christ, and was thrown to the lions. However, the hungry animal
refused to attack, and Diogenianus eventually had Rufina strangled,
beheaded, and then burned. The Bishop Sabinus recovered the relics of
both saints, and buried them beside each other in 287.
Saints Justa and Rufina are deeply venerated in Spain, with chapels
and churches in Zaragoza (La Seo Cathedral) and Toledo. A hermitage
dedicated to the sisters can be found in Valencia. According to
tradition, they are protectors of the Giralda (bell tower) and the
Cathedral of Seville, and are said to have protected both during the
Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
The lives of Justa and Rufina are lives defined by deep faith,
commitment to their beliefs, and courage. How often do we stand up for
the tenets of our faith? Do we back down at the first signs of
inconvenience or hardship? These young women clung to their beliefs,
first to the detriment of their occupation and livelihood, and later
to their lives. For their faith and courage, Saints Justa and Rufina
earned martyrs’ crowns. We ask for their intercession today, that we
might be filled with courage and confidence in the Lord.
To those who wish to stand in God's grace, neither the guardianship of
saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting.
--Saint Hilary of Poitiers
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which
a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all
that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)
Let Me Love Your Jesus
By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer,
through the Holy Spirit,
you became the Mother of Jesus,
from the Holy Spirit,
may I too have Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit,
your flesh conceived Jesus,
through the same Spirit,
may my soul receive Jesus.
Through the Holy Spirit,
you were able to know Jesus,
to possess Jesus
and to bring Him into the world.
Through the Holy Spirit,
may I too come to know your Jesus.
Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say
“I am the handmaid of the Lord,
be it done unto me according to your word,”
in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am,
let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus.
In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord
and look on Him as Son,
in the same Spirit, Mary,
let me love your Jesus.