Monday, June 02, 2008

June 2: Blandina and the Martyrs of Lyons A Meditation

Grant, O Lord, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina
and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of you, and may
endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be
revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Ever since I realized that my birthday was also a saint's day, these
saints have had particular meaning for me. Their story, as is the
story of all martyrs, is terrible to read. It must have been horrible
to endure. That Blandina and her companions were fed to the wild
animals on June 2, 177 is documented in secular as well as Christian
literature. Events really did happen as told. It is not myth, legend
or folk tale but the very truthful account of the hideous deaths of
people who refused to forsake the name of Jesus.

I am really quite up front about having a mental illness. After all,
it is not my fault that I was born with a defect in the way my brain
works. I am this way because there are even to this day, Christians
and others who still associate some sort of stigma to mental illness.
I don't know if this is because of their own personal fear of
contagion, ignorance due to misinformation received or taught or, in
some cases, just plain nastiness.

While i more often than not fail to live up to their example, Blandina
and her companions have been role models for me. They surely did not
want to be eaten by "fierce wild beasts" just as I have not wanted to
be eaten by my own fierce wild beast. But they endured and were
rewarded with the healing embrace of our Lord and Savior.

All of us face our own fierce wild beast of some kind or other. Each
can be hideous to endure. Let us remember that Jesus already enfolds
us in His arms, that we are not alone. We not only have Him, but the
company of everyone else He also embraces, seen and unseen.

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