St Felix and Adauctus

Martyrs (entered heaven in 304)

Dear Felicity,

I knew that college would challenge your faith more than high school, but I didn’t think it would happen so fast.  Even so, you shouldn’t be alarmed.  Why do you think God instituted the sacrament of confirmation?  Because we need an extra boost of grace to be faithful followers of and witnesses to Christ in this unchristian world.  The joys of the Christian disciple are deep and real (actually, they are incomparable), but they do not displace difficulty and suffering.  Therefore, be brave, be strong, be like your Lord, and he will take good care of you.  The story of today’s martyrs may boost your morale.

The story is simple.  Felix was a dedicated, happy Roman priest apprehended for his faith when the Emperor Diocletian commenced his famous persecution.  They tortured him, hoping to convince him to sacrifice to the pagan gods, but he stayed firm.  As they marched him off to execution, a stranger (also a Christian) watched him pass by.  He was so inspired by Felix’s calm and joyful countenance in the face of death that he made a public profession of faith right there in the street, crying out: “I confess the same law which this man professes; I confess the same Jesus Christ; and I also will lay down my life in His cause.”  The judges took him at his word, and the two knelt side by side on the chopping block that very day.

So, my happily named niece, by bearing up under modern pagan onslaughts, you are worthily upholding your ancient brothers’ torch.  May the inscription on these two saints’ tomb be an encouragement for you.  It was written by Pope St Damasus: “O how truly and rightly named Felix, happy, you who, with faith untouched and despising the prince of this world, have confessed Christ and sought the heavenly kingdom.  Know ye also, brethren, the truly precious faith by which Adauctus too hastened, a victor, to heaven.”

See you soon, God-willing,

Uncle Eddy

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