Spirituality for Today – September 2013 – Volume 18, Issue 2

Saint of the Month
St. Januarius

September 19

An illustration of Saint JanuariusSaint Januarius

Januarius was born in Naples or Benevento, Italy, sometime during the third century. He was named bishop during the emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. When Januarius learned that two deacons named Sossus and Proculus and two laymen had been imprisoned for being Christians, the new bishop went to visit them and was also arrested.

Januarius was brought before a judge named Timothy. The judge ordered Januarius to denounce his faith, threatening him with torture. But Januarius replied, "…do not insult in my hearing Him who created Heaven and Earth, lest the Lord God may hear such a blasphemy as that which proceeds from your mouth and He may destroy you and you shall be mute and deaf."

The angry judge ordered the furnace to be heating for three days and Januarius thrown into it. But miraculously the flames did not touch the bishop. Timothy then had Januarius and the others dragged into an amphitheatre with wild beasts, but the beasts became as docile as sheep. According to one version of the story, as Timothy gave the order to behead the Christians, he was rendered blind. Januarius healed him on the spot and thousands of witnesses converted to Christianity. Nonetheless, Januarius and his companions were executed.

Januarius's relics were placed in a basilica in Naples, where many miracles were reported. Perhaps the best known involved his blood, which had been dried and preserved in a vial, but continues to liquefy frequently – a phenomenon that cannot be scientifically explained.

Dear Lord,
Grant me the knowledge,
perseverance and courage
to face today's bigotry and persecution.
Guide me through each day
to have the wisdom and compassion
to bring Your love to others
and to show it in all that I do.
For it is only through Your love
that all people will find grace.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

We chose this Saint because September 19th is the instillation of the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport.