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Genseric the Goth
In the reign of Genseric the Arian King of the
Goths one of his favourite courtiers, the Count of
Armogasto, was converted from Arianism and joined
the Catholic Church.
The King on hearing of the fact fell into a
violent fury and calling the young nobleman to
his presence tried by every means in his power to
induce him to recant and return to the Arian sect.
Neither threats nor promises availed. The Count
refused all overtures and held fast to his new
found faith. Genseric then gave vent to his fury
and ordered the young man to be bound with
strong cords as tightly as the brawny executioners
could draw them. The torment was intense but
the victim showed no sign of pain. He repeated
two, or three times, Jesus. Jesus. Jesus, and lo!
the cords snapped like spiders’ webs and fell at his
Enraged beyond measure the tyrant now commanded
that the sinews of oxen, hard and tough as
wire, should be brought. The Count was again
bound and the king bade the executioners use
their utmost strength. Once more their victim
invoked the Name of Jesus and the new thongs,
like the old, snapped like threads. Genseric
foaming with rage ordered the martyr to be bound
by the feet and hung from the branches of a tree,
Smiling at this new mode of torture Count
Armogasto folded his arms on his bosom and
repeating the Holy Name fell , into a tranquil
sleep as though he were lying on a soft and
D. Melchior smiles at his tormentors.
We have another incident of a similar kind
narrated of the Chinese Martyr, the Venerable
Dominican Bishop, D Melchior.
In one of the many persecutions which raged in
China and which gave so many saints to the
Church, this holy Bishop was seized and, after
having undergone the most brutal torments, was
condemned to a cruel death.
He was dragged to the market place in the
midst of a howling mob who came to gloat over
They stripped him of his garments and five executioners,
armed with rough-edged swords, proceeded
to chop off his fingers one by one, joint by
joint, then his arms, then his legs, causing him
excruciating agony. Finally they hacked the flesh
from his poor body and broke his bones.
During this prolonged martyrdom no sign of
pain was visible on the Bishop’s countenance.
He was smiling and saying aloud, slowly, Jesus.
Jesus. Jesus, which gave him this wonderful
strength to the amazement of his executioners.
Neither cry nor groan escaped from his lips until
finally after hours of torture he quietly breathed
his last, with the same lovely smile lingering on
What wonderful consolation would we too not
feel, when confined to bed with sickness, or racked
by pain if we repeated devoutly the Name of Je sus.
Many people find it hard to sleep.
They will find help and consolation by invoking
in these sleepless moments the Holy Name, and
very probably will fall back into a tranquil slumber.
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