St Epipodius and St Alexander

Martyrs (entered heaven in 178)

Dear Alexis,

Nothing would break my heart more than to see your collegiate success lure you away from friendship with Christ; they should go together!  Of course, I am not naïve; I know it’s tough. You’re so busy, and you keep falling head over heels for guys who don’t share your faith, and social life is so much fun… I guess that’s why God has given you an imprisoned uncle with nothing better to do than remind you that when the party’s over, life begins – and no one gives life more flavor than Christ.  Think about how much today’s saints gave up in order to stay united to Christ. They were from the French city of Lyons (near the French-Italian border), which suffered intensely under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. These two young men had been friends since childhood and fled together to a small town in hopes of escaping arrest, which they didn’t. So, in the prime of life (college-aged, just like you), and with the brightest of futures before them, they were brought to trial.  The governor invited them to denounce their Christian faith; they preferred to forfeit all their worldly hopes and pleasures and suffer torture rather than betray the Lord. The governor separated them and tried to entice the younger Epipodius to save himself. When that failed, he resorted to less civilized means: he stretched the youth on the rack and tore his sides with iron claws. When even that didn’t work, Epipodius was beheaded. A couple of days later, Alexander had his chance to embrace a life of ease and privilege if only he would put his faith on the back burner, but he preferred to follow the example of his friend.  He was scourged and crucified. I don’t remind you of what your older brothers in the faith suffered in order to frighten you. Rather, I hope to give you new resolve: stay busy at all costs, but busy with Christ; makes friends with all the young men you meet, but friendships that will be pleasing to Christ; enjoy college as much as you can, but not at the expense of the joy of Christ. Be a light, dear Alexis, shining Christ’s love all over that pagan campus.

God bless. Uncle Eddy

 

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