Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wednesday, Lent I: Still in Georgia, Now Connected, and Remembering St. Perpetua, Felicitas, and Their Companions

Somewhat frustrated that I have not been able to stay in touch with my Anthrakian friends, I'm happy to announce that today my Bellsouth DSL modem arrived and my umbilical cord is re-attached to mother-net. So for the next several days I should be able to read and catch up on the conversations and comments posted.

This morning's Eucharist at the Church of the Good Shepherd proved to be so full of grace, not only most assuredly with the sacramental Presence of Jesus, but also with a good homily by Father Tim on the remembrance of Sts. Perpetua, Felicitas and Their Companions, who in 202 A.D. were martyred in the arena at Carthage because they refused to bend their knees to Emperor Septimius Severus. In case you don't know the story of their martyrdom, visit Perpetua and Her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage. Fr. Tim in his homily suggested that perhaps the Church in the early days of Lent gives us the example of these martyred women for two reasons. First, in hearing the story of the sacrifice of their lives, we may be encouraged by their example to reflect more seriously on our Lenten disciplines, small as they might be. And second, that in hearing such stories of the Church's martyrs, we may more fully realize that our own stories, though admittedly less dramatic, are nonetheless also important, especially when we live out our Christian lives in conformity with Christ's suffering and passion. If you wish to remember these martyrs before God, here is the prayer appointed for the day we recall their witness:

O God the King of saints, you strengthened your servants Perpetua and Felicitas and their companions to make a good confession, staunchly resisting, for the cause of Christ, the claims of human affection, and encouraging one another in their time of trial: Grant that we who cherish their blessed memory may share their pure and steadfast faith, and win with them the palm of victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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