Thought for the Day – 2 June – The Memorial of Sts Marcellinus and Peter – Martyrs (martyred in 304).
Why are these men included in our Eucharistic prayer and given their own feast day, in spite of the fact that almost nothing is known about them?
Probably because the Church respects its collective memory. They once sent an impulse of encouragement through the whole Church. They made the ultimate step of faith……Fr. Don Miller, OFM
The foundation of our faith rests on the lives of these holy men and women of the early Church who willingly gave themselves over to the faith, courageous and joyful in their martyrdom. When we consider the struggles of today and our own personal difficulties in daily life, we might pause to consider the sacrifice of these early martyrs and be inspired to greater faith, trust and love and be filled with that impulse of encouragement!
One Minute Reflection – 2 June – Martyrs – The Memorial of Sts Erasmus (martyred in c 303 and Marcellinus and Peter – (martyred in 304).
My dear friends, do not be taken aback at the testing by fire which is taking place among you, as though something strange were happening to you; but in so far as you share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, so that you may enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed….1 Peter 4:12-13
REFLECTION – “Bodily and spiritual affliction are the surest sign of Divine predilection. Gratitude for suffering is a precious jewel for our heavenly crown… Man should always firmly believe that God sends just that trial which is most beneficial for him.”…St Gertrude the Great
PRAYER – O GOD, who dost give us joy through the memory of Thy holy Martyrs, graciously grant that we may be inflamed by their example, in whose merits we rejoice. Sts Erasmus, Marcellinus and Peter, Pray for us! Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Morning Offering – 2 June – Month of the Sacred Heart – Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Year B.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus By St Gertrude the Great
O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
O my adorable and loving Saviour,
consume my heart with the burning fire
with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces
which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.
Saint of the Day – 2 June – St Erasmus (Died c 303) Martyr – also known as Saint Elmo (Telmo, Eramo, Erarmo, Ermo, Herasmus, Rasimus, Rasmus), Bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy. St Erasmus or Elmo is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saintly figures of Christian tradition who were venerated especially as intercessors. Patronages – against appendicitis, against birth pains, against abdominal or stomach pains and diseases, against colic, against danger at sea, against seasickness, against storms, ammunition, explosives and ordnance workers, boatmen, mariners, sailors, watermen, childbirth and women in labour, navigators, Gaeta, Italy, Formia, cattle pest, Fort St Elmo, Malta.
As with many Martyrs of the early Church, we know little about their lives and upbringings but much about their pious and courageous deaths, accounts of which were recorded and believed to be more instructive to the faithful than complete biographies.
The childhood and birthplace of Saint Erasmus is lost to history. In the late third century, we do know that he was appointed Bishop of Antioch in Asia Minor, where he led the faithful. When Emperor Diocletian ascended to the throne, widespread persecution of Christians began and Antioch was not overlooked. Saint Erasmus fled into the mountains of Lebanon, where he undertook an austere life of prayer and fasting, going without food for days at a time. Holy legend tells us that a raven brought him food when he deprived himself for too long. Eventually, however, he was discovered by the soldiers of the Emperor and dragged to judgement.
St Erasmus was urged to recant his faith and some respect was offered him. However, when he adamantly stated his belief in Christ and could not be persuaded to make offerings to the gods. He stated, “Almighty God, that made all things, hath wrought heaven and hell and all that is therein, Him will I not forsake for nothing that can or may be done to me, for His goodly grace hath given to me such grace and to other of His chosen friends, that He was made man and hath tasted and suffered the bitter death for me and for all sinners.”Saint Erasmus was viciously tortured. He was at first scourged, had heated hooks jabbed into his intestines and stomach and was finally thrown into a caldron filled with boiling oil. However, despite these horrific tortures, the Lord protected Saint Erasmus from death and many were converted to the faith—including the jailor and his family.
Unable to torture him physically into recanting his faith, the judge ordered him imprisoned in chains, thrown into a pit filled with vipers and worms and forbid the jailor to feed him, insisting that he die of starvation for his crime. However, Erasmus was again delivered, with an angel appearing to him and leading him to freedom. During his escape, the angel proclaimed, ”Erasmus, Follow me! Thou shalt convert a great many.”
Erasmus fled to Europe, preaching the power of the Lord, performing miracles and converting the multitudes proclaimed by the Angel. Upon his arrival in Italy, however, he was again arrested—this time by Emperor Maximin, who also persecuted Christians. History tells us that the Emperor, enraged by Erasmus’ success in conversions, ordered three hundred of the newly baptised Christians killed as incentive for Erasmus to recant his faith. When he did not, he was cruelly tortured and again imprisoned. During this torture, his intestines were slowly wound around a sailor’s capstan, which is why he is the Patron Saint of sailors today. Eventually, Saint Erasmus died a Martyr’s death due to disembowelling and subsequent beheading, having been summoned by the voice of the Lord.
From the Golden Legend:“And when the hour was come that this holy Bishop and Martyr of God should depart out of this world, then was heard a loud voice perfectly, coming from heaven saying: “Erasmus, my true servant, thou hast done me true service, wherefore come with me and go and enter into the bliss and joy of thy Lord and I promise thee and all people that think upon thy great pain and call upon thy holy name and worship every Sunday, what that they ask of Me in thy name for the wealth of their souls, I shall grant it. Now come, my true and chosen friend, be glad and comforted with Mine ascension . I will that thou arise with Me and come sit upon the right hand of My Father.” Then was this holy man right glad and joyful and he cast his eyes upward to heaven, with lifting up his hands and there he saw, a clear shining crown come from heaven upon his blessed head. Then gave he loving and thanking to Almighty God with bowing his head and kneeling and both his hands upward to heaven, and meekly said: “O Lord in thy hands yield my spirit and this Sunday receive my soul into thy peace and rest.” And with saying these words he yielded up his ghost, which was seen by many men’s eyes, shining clearer than the sun and how that he was received of the holy Angels and was led through the height of heaven into the uppermost plan of heaven – there he standeth with God, with all the holy company and is there a true helper to all them that call truly to Saint Erasmus for ghostly health, which joy and ghostly health let us pray, that he for us, all of our Lord God may obtain.”
Saint Erasmus is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of saints invoked with special confidence because they have proven themselves efficacious helpers in adversity and difficulties . Other saints identified as Holy Helpers are: Saints Blaise, Catherine of Alexandria, George, Christopher and others. Saint Erasmus, due to the manner in which he was tortured, is the Patron Saint of those with stomach or intestinal disorders.
Saint Erasmus, under the name Saint Elmo, is also the patron saint of sailors and the shining lights observed upon his death, continue to be reported by sailors as “Saint Elmo’s fire.” This electrostatic phenomenon has been reported throughout history, from Julius Caesar, to the journals of sailors on Magellan’s voyage around the globe, to the writings of Shakespeare, Melville and Charles Darwin.
A chronicler of Magellan’s voyage to circle the globe, observed: “During those storms the holy body, that is, to say St. Elmo, appeared to us many times in light…on an exceedingly dark night on the maintop where he stayed for about two hours or more for our consolation.” Darwin wrote that one night when the Beagle was anchored in the estuary of the Rio Plata: “Everything was in flames, the sky with lightning, the water with luminous particles, and even the very masts were pointed with a blue flame.” The appearance of St Elmo’s Fire is regarded as a good omen for sailors, as it tends to occur near the end of severe thunderstorms or weather systems, the answer to sailors’ prayers for heavenly intervention. In these moments, the guiding hand of Saint Elmo is present.
The endurance of Saint Erasmus in the face of cruel and horrific torture reminds us that the Lord is always with those who love Him. It is difficult to imagine being in a position of profound physical torture, like that many of the early Church’s Martyrs endured. In our day to day lives, we often find it difficult to withstand the smallest inconveniences and hurts we experience, generally feeling lost and overwhelmed. But the lives of the early Martyrs are not that different from our own. Terminal illnesses, significant financial and vocational struggles, victimisation and trauma fill our lives and the lives of those we love. Our suffering is sometimes great, albeit different from the early Martyrs. Our call is to join that suffering to Christ, to look to the Lord for support and succour, to rely on Our Blessed Mother for grace and intercession. When we are able to do that—when we are able to look beyond our struggles and suffering to see the face of God present within us, we grow closer to the glorious Saints and Martyrs who reflected their faith for all to see, even in the midst of great pain!
St Marcellinus (Optional Memorial)
St Peter the Exorcist (Optional Memorial)
St Ada of Ethiopia
St Adalgis of Thiérarche
St Armin of Egypt
St Blandina the Slave
St Bodfan of Wales
St Daminh Ninh
Bl Demetrios of Philadelphia
St Dorotheus of Rome
St Erasmus (Died c 303)
St Pope Eugene I,
Bl Giovanni de Barthulono
Bl Guy of Acqui
St John de Ortega
St Joseph Tien
St Nicholas Peregrinus
St Photinus of Lyons
Bl Sadoc of Sandomierz
St Stephen of Sweden
Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne: A group of 48 Christians from the areas of Vienne and Lyon, France, who were attacked by a pagan mob, arrested and tried for their faith, and murdered in the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius. A letter describing their fate, possibly written by Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, was sent to the churches in the Middle East. Only a few names and details of their lives have surived; some of them have separate entries on this date –
• Alexander of Vienne
• Attalus of Pergamos
• Biblis of Lyons
• Blandina the Slave
• Cominus of Lugdunum
• Epagathus of Lugdunum
• Maturus the Novice
• Photinus of Lyons
• Ponticus of Lugdunum
• Sanctius of Vienne
• Vettius of Lugdunum
They were martyred in assorted ways on on various during 177.
Martyrs of Sandomierz: A group of 49 Dominicans, some of whom received the habit from Saint Dominic de Guzman himself. They worked separately and together to bring the faith and establish the Dominican Order in Poland, basing their operations in and around Sandomierz. In 1260 they were all martyred by the Tartars as they were singing the Salve Regina at Compline; the custom of singing the Salve Regina at the deathbed of Dominicans stems from this incident. We know a few details about a few of the martyrs, but most survive only as names –
• Andrea, chaplain
• James, novice master
• Malachi, convent preacher
• Paul, vicar
• Peter, guardian of the garden
• Simone, penitentiary
• Abel, Barnabas, Bartholomew, Clemente, Elia, John, Luke, Matthew, Philip
• Giuseppe, Joachim, Stefano
• Abraham, Basil, Moses, Taddeo
• Aaron, Benedict, David, Dominico, Mattia, Mauro, Michele, Onofrio, Timothy
• Christopher, Donato, Feliciano, Gervasio, Gordian, John, Mark, Medardo, Valentino
• Daniele, Isaiah, Macario, Raffaele, Tobia
• Cyril, tailor
• Jeremiah, shoemaker
• Thomas, organist
They were martyred in 1260 at Sandomierz, Poland and Beatified on 18 October 1807 by Pope Pius VII (cultus confirmation).