Victims of Nazi brutality during World War Two, th... Read more
Lowly and Lifted Up
In this age of ISIS videos of Christian martyrdom, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (died 203) seem more relevant than ever. The two woman, whom we commemorate on March 7, were martyred for their Christian faith by the Roman Empire and have been venerated as saints ever since.
It's one of the great paradoxes of Jewish and Christian faith that often the people of power and influence in their own day and age are forgotten, while those who were oppressed, derided, or destroyed are still remembered to this day for their suffering witness to the truth and love of God. Taken to prison during one of the earliest persecutions of the Church by the Roman empire, Perpetua and Felicity are especially remembered for their martyrdom because they were both young mothers. Perpetua was still nursing her child in prison while waiting to be taken for execution; Felicity was pregnant when arrested, and only gave birth a few days before their little group of imprisoned Christians was taken from their cells to the arena. There, they confronted mockery, suffering, wild animals, and death. These young mothers — women in a society that treated them as property, physically still bearing all the signs of recent childbearing — triumphed over those who sought their destruction by remaining true to the Lord of life, to Jesus Christ, to the end.
The martyrs wear imperishable crowns, now, and shall never be forgotten. They live forever in communion with the Trinity, and wield greater power and wealth than their tormentors ever dreamed of, for Perpetua and Felicity have the "one thing necessary," the imperishable treasure of the kingdom of heaven, the pearl of great price.
Let us ask their prayers this Lent that our love of God never grow cold, and that we always have a generous heart toward God. Let us ask the intercession of Sts. Perpetua and Felicity for the charity to make the sacrifices we need to make in order to cease our worship of anything other than God this Lent, and turn our hearts and minds to Jesus.