St Basilides

Martyr (entered heaven around the year 205)

Dear Desiree,

You should have no qualms about praying to the saints, you know.  I can’t imagine why you’re thinking otherwise.  Maybe you have been infected by the non-Catholic over-individualism so prevalent in many other Christian denominations.  As if God would be offended by his children helping each other out!

Look, the Church is, from God’s perspective, a family, linked by bonds of supernatural charity that transcend the limits of time and space.  Some of the members of this family are still fighting here on Battlefield Earth; others are recovering from their wounds in Purgatory Hospital; and others have returned to the peace and joy of the everlasting homeland, Heaven.  We are all united because we are all members of Christ’s body.  It’s not some wishful thinking, some fairy tale quaintness – it’s the hard and fast truth.  So just as Jesus himself had a conversation with Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop (Mark 9), we too can converse with our brothers and sisters who have gone before us to their reward.  And if you still have doubts, just look at the incontrovertible history of today’s saint.

Basilides was a pagan Roman soldier stationed in Alexandria, Egypt (one of the ancient world’s great metropolises).  He was on duty the day that St Potomiana was led to her martyrdom (remember, it was illegal to be a Christian back then, because everyone was required to worship the official pagan non-gods, which Christians refused to do).  He protected her from the insults and brutality of the mob that harassed her as she made her way.  So effective was his respect and kindness that when they finally arrived at the end of the road, she thanked him and promised to pray for him when she made her way into the presence of God.

For the three nights following her death, Basilides had visions of the glorious martyr, in which she reiterated that she was praying for him and his conversion.  After the third night, the grace of God reached him and he became a believer.  His comrades mocked him when he professed his new faith – they thought he was joking.  But he persisted.  So much so that he was brought before the judge, where he publicly acknowledged his faith in Christ and refused to worship pagan non-gods, for which he was summarily condemned and beheaded.

It’s a true story, and there are many others like it.  So I hope you have no more qualms about conversing with the saints and hoping for benefits from their intercession.  You are a Catholic, my bright young niece, there’s no need to fear.

Your loving uncle,


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