Yesterday was the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul; today is the commemoration of the First Martyrs of the Church at Rome. Unfortunately, most non Catholic/Orthodox Christians, and nowadays even many Catholics, are like, “So what? What’s the big deal?” We live in a world where the past is just that, past and done with, where someone’s clothes or hairstyle is ridiculed with a flippant, “That’s so five minutes ago!” What matters in our fast food, up-to-date technologized, past mocking “culture” (I use that word very loosely here) is how with the latest fad one is…the latest song, clothing style, meditation technique, and on and on. But for Catholics who know what and why they believe the past is not gone and over with for the words and deeds of the Saints form a golden chain of Life that reaches into our own, often silly and frivolous, time.
In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer collects for the feasts of the Saints and other holy days are often introduced with these or like words, “Almighty God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance…” To remember those who have lived and died for Christ in ages past and now live IN Christ in Eternal Life is to be “made glad”. Glad that we have their examples, glad that their witness kept the Faith alive and continuing, and glad that, by commemorating them before God, we may even NOW, TODAY have participation in their prayers and praises. No fad-followers, they staked their very souls on the Truth of the One who is the same “yesterday, today, and forever”. Following them, remembering them, and asking their intercession, let us do so as well.
O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of Your first martyrs at Rome: Grant that we who hallow their memory may be encouraged by their examples and aided by their prayers and, following them in authentic and holy living, may come at last to the joys of Your Kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.