Post by Elizabeth on Mar 31, 2019 19:36:06 GMT
Deacon and Martyr
The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.
As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.
Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on condition that he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.
St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.
Blessed Jane of Toulouse
Founder of Carmelite Third Order
Blessed Jane was born to a noble family in the kingdom of Navarre. A Carmelite monastery had been founded in Toulouse, France, in 1240, which exposed her to the Carmelite lifestyle and spirituality. Due to her devotion to Our Lady, she wished to live as an anchorite near the Carmelite monastery. In 1265, when St. Simon Stock, a thirteenth century reformer of the Carmelites, was passing through Toulouse, Jane met him and asked to be affiliated with the Carmelites. Simon agreed and Blessed Jane became the first Third Order Carmelite. She received the habit of the Carmelite order from St. Simon Stock, making a vow of perpetual chastity. A gentle, pious, prayerful young woman, she attended daily Mass and spent her days caring for the sick, elderly, and infirmed. One of Jane’s primary missions was encouraging the boys of the town to help her serve the poor and help them discern whether or not they were called to be Carmelites. Joan died in 1286 and was the first female Carmelite beatified (1452).
Blessed Jane carried a picture of the crucified Christ in her pocket, which she studied as though it were a book. Each time she gazed upon the picture, she gained a new and wonderful insight into Christ’s love.