Friday, 31 May 2013
June 1.--ST. PAMPHILUS, Martyr. (butlers 1894 saint of the day)
ST. PAMPHILUS was of a rich and honorable family, and a native of Berytus, in which city, at that time famous for its schools, he in his youth ran through the whole circle of the sciences, and was afterward honored with the first employments of the magistracy. After he began to know Christ, he could relish no other study but that of salvation, and renounced everything else that he might apply himself wholly to the exercise of virtue and the studies of the Holy Scriptures. This accomplished master in profane sciences, and this renowned magistrate, was not ashamed to become the humble scholar of Pierius, the successor of Origen, in the great catechetical school of Alexandria. He afterward made Caesarea, in Palestine, his residence, where, at his private expense, he collected a great library, which he bestowed on the church of that city. The Saint established there also a public school of sacred literature, and to his labors the Church was indebted for a most correct edition of the Holy Bible, which, with infinite care, he transcribed himself. But nothing was more remarkable in this Saint than his extraordinary humility. His paternal estate he at length distributed among the poor; towards his slaves and domestics his behavior was always that of a brother or a tender father. He led a most austere life, sequestered from the world and its company, and was indefatigable in labor. Such a virtue was his apprenticeship to the grace of martyrdom. In the year 307, Urbanus, the cruel governor of Palestine, caused him to be apprehended, and commanded him to be most inhumanly tormented. But the iron hooks which tore the martyr's sides served only to cover the judge with confusion. After this, the Saint remained almost two years in prison. Urbanus, the governor, was himself beheaded by an order of the Emperor Maximinus, but was succeeded by Firmilian, a man not less barbarous than bigoted and superstitious. After several butcheries, he caused St. Pamphilus to be brought before him, and passed sentence of death upon him. His flesh was torn off to the very bones, and his bowels exposed to view, and the torments were continued a long time without intermission, but he never once opened his mouth so much as to groan. He finished his martyrdom by a slow fire, and died invoking Jesus, the Son of God.
Reflection.--A cloud of witnesses, a noble army of martyrs, teach us by their constancy to suffer wrong with patience, and strenuously to resist evil. The daily trials we meet with from others or from ourselves are always sent us by God, Who sometimes throws difficulties in our way on purpose to reward our conquest; and sometimes, like a wise physician, restores us to our health by bitter potions.