Ordinary Time: January 19th
Saturday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Other Commemorations: Sts. Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum, Martyrs (RM)
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According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Sts. Marius, Martha, Audivax and Abachum, a group of Persian martyrs of the third century who died for the faith in Rome. St. Canute was king of Denmark; he was put to death out of hatred of his faith and his zeal in working for its extension in his kingdom. He was killed in St. Alban's Church in Odense.
It is also the feast of St. Henrik or Henry an Englishman, and preached the faith in the North with his countryman, Cardinal Nicholas Breakspear, the apostle of Norway, and legate of the holy see, afterward Pope Adrian IV. by whom he was raised to this see, in 1148. Saint Eric, or Henry, (for it is the same name,) was then the holy king of Sweden. Our saint, after having converted several provinces, went to preach in Finland, which that king had lately conquered. He deserved to be styled the apostle of that country, but fell a martyr in it, being stoned to death at the instigation of a barbarous murderer, whom he endeavored to reclaim by censures, in 1151. His tomb was in great veneration at Upsal, until his ashes were scattered on the change of religion, in the sixteenth century.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Meditation: Patience and Union with God
Being convinced that it is only in so far as my works are united with the merits of Jesus Christ that they are satisfactory and meritorious, it follows that my great aim should be to unite myself as closely as possible with Jesus Christ and His sufferings in all my actions, and thus it would matter little what I am engaged at.
But how is this union to be effected?
St. Benedict tells us "We share in the sufferings of Christ by patience." This little sentence gave me a great light. The life of a saint must be one of great and mysterious sufferings. Patientia=Sufferentia.
"If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself," says Jesus. This shows that it is suffering which draws us near to Jesus. "He who dos not take up his cross daily and follow Me, cannot be My disciple." Therefore all other methods which do not include this are founded on error.
—Blessed Abbot Columbia Marmion, A Master of the Spiritual Life, p. 71.
St. Marius and Family
Their feast does not appear in the Roman calendar until the twelfth century. The Acts of these martyrs are wholly legendary. They give the following details: Marius was a Persian of noble extraction. With his wife, who was also noble-born, and his two sons, Audifax and Abachus, he came to Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (268-270) to venerate the graves of the martyrs. They visited the Christians in prison, encouraged them by word and deed, and shared with them their goods. And like Tobias of old, they buried the bodies of the saints.
It was not long before they themselves were arrested; and when neither threats nor allurements could make them offer sacrifice to the idols, they were savagely flogged. Martha was the first to die, but not before she had fervently exhorted her husband and sons to endure steadfastly whatever tortures might be inflicted for the faith. All were beheaded in the same place and their bodies thrown into the fire. Felicitas, a saintly Roman woman, succeeded in recovering the half-burnt bodies and buried them on her estate.
Highlights and Things To Do:
- Little is know about these early Christian martyrs. See the Catholic Encyclopedia for further reading.
- This family's relics met with all sorts of conflicts and travels. Some relics can be found in Prüm Abbey.