who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?14 But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are
you. Do not be AFRAID or terrified
with fear of them, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give
an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it
with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you
are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be
put to shame.
we honor the martyrdom of Saint Agnes, a God-fearing child of 12, when she
faced her death. Here is St. Ambrose’s account of her demise.
treatise has a favorable beginning, since it is the birthday of the holy Virgin
Agnes, of whose name, modesty, and martyrdom St. Ambrose speaks in
commendation, but more especially of her age, seeing that she, being but twelve
years old, was superior to terrors, promises, tortures, and death itself, with
a courage wholly worthy of a man.
my task begins favorably, that since today is the birthday of a virgin, I have
to speak of virgins, and the treatise has its beginning from this discourse. It
is the birthday of a martyr, let us offer the victim. It is the birthday of St.
Agnes, let men admire, let children take courage, let the married be astounded,
let the unmarried take an example. But what can I say worthy of her whose very
name was not devoid of bright praise? In devotion beyond her age, in virtue
above nature, she seems to me to have borne not so much a human name, as a
token of martyrdom, whereby she showed what she was to be.
I have that which may assist me. The name of virgin is a title of modesty. I
will call upon the martyr, I will proclaim the virgin. That panegyric is long
enough which needs no elaboration but is within our grasp. Let then labor
cease, eloquence be silent. One word is praise enough. This word old men and
young and boys chant. No one is more praiseworthy than he who can be praised by
all. There are as many heralds as there are men, who when they speak proclaim
is said to have suffered martyrdom when twelve years old. The more hateful was
the cruelty, which spared not so tender an age, the greater in truth was the
power of faith which found evidence even in that age. Was there room for a
wound in that small body? And she who had no room for the blow of the steel had
that wherewith to conquer the steel. But maidens of that age are unable to bear
even the angry looks of parents and are wont to cry at the pricks of a needle
as though they were wounds. She was fearless
under the cruel hands of the executioners, she was unmoved by the heavy weight
of the creaking chains, offering her whole body to the sword of the raging
soldier, as yet ignorant of death, but ready for it. Or if she were unwillingly
hurried to the altars, she was ready to stretch forth her hands to Christ at
the sacrificial fires, and at the sacrilegious altars themselves, to make the
sign of the Lord the Conqueror, or again to place her neck and both her hands
in the iron bands, but no band could enclose such slender limbs.
new kind of martyrdom! Not yet of fit age for punishment but already ripe for
victory, difficult to contend with but easy to be crowned, she filled the
office of teaching valor while having the disadvantage of youth. She would not
as a bride so hasten to the couch, as being a virgin, she joyfully went to the
place of punishment with hurrying step, her head not adorned with plaited hair,
but with Christ. All wept, she alone was without a tear. All wondered that she
was so readily prodigal of her life, which she had not yet enjoyed, and now
gave up as though she had gone through it. Everyone was astounded that there
was now one to bear witness to the Godhead, who as yet could not, because of
her age, dispose of herself. And she brought it to pass that she should be
believed concerning God, whose evidence concerning man would not be accepted.
For that which is beyond nature is from the Author of nature.
threats the executioner used to make her fear him, what allurements to persuade
her, how many desired that she would come to them in marriage! But she
answered: It would be an injury to my spouse to look on any one as likely to
please me. He who chose me first for Himself shall receive me. Why are you
delaying, executioner? Let this body perish which can be loved by eyes which I
would not. She stood, she prayed, she bent down her neck. You could see the
executioner tremble, as though he himself had been condemned, and his
right-hand shake, his face grow pale, as he feared
the peril of another, while the maiden feared
not for her own. You have then in one victim a twofold martyrdom, of modesty
and of religion. She both remained a virgin and she obtained martyrdom.
that we may emulate Agnes who was martyred rather than forsake her betrothal to
Christ and exhibited the traits of a true marriage.
Life First 9 Days for Life
9 Days for Life is a "digital pilgrimage" of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person's life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved! #9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter
Intercession: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope and healing in Christ.
Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
Reflection: After more than four decades of legalized abortion, many children’s lives have been ended, and many parents and family members suffer that loss—often in silence. Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed from His side, He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.” Be assured that it is never too late to seek God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
of Reparation (Choose one.)
from meat today. If you are already abstaining from meat today, skip your
favorite snack, too.
the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (www.usccb.org/divine-mercy-chaplet) for those who are suffering the
loss of a child through abortion, asking that they find healing and peace.
some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for
of the Catholic Church
PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST
SECTION ONE-MAN'S VOCATION LIFE IN THE
CHAPTER TWO-THE HUMAN
Article 3-SOCIAL JUSTICE
II. Equality and Differences Among Men
1934 Created in the image of
the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same
nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called
to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal
1935 The equality of men rests
essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it:
of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the
grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be
curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.
1936 On coming into the world,
man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and
spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical
abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social
commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The "talents" are not
1937 These differences belong
to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that
those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those
who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice
generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment
the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some
to one, some to others.... I shall give principally charity to one; justice to
another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one.... and so I have
given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity
that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be
constrained to practice charity towards one another.... I have willed that one
should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the
graces and gifts they have received from me.
1938 There exist also sinful
inequalities that affect millions of men and women. These are in open
contradiction of the Gospel:
dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane
conditions. Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and
peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against
social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international