St George

Martyr, Protector of the Kingdom of England (entered heaven around the year 303)

Dear George,

Sometimes you just can’t be popular and be faithful.  If your involvement in the Newman Center and in COMPASS is making you the pariah of the philosophy department, well then, you either have to suffer through the scorn and ridicule (and prove them all wrong by your excellent philosophical work), or shut the door on Christ.  You know which to choose. In your choice – and in enduring the consequences of your choice – you may want to invoke the heavenly aid of your namesake, St George. Modern scholars debunk most of the traditional stories about this remarkable Christian knight, but in doing so they often miss the point. Perhaps there really was no dragon terrorizing that little pagan city in Palestine.  And perhaps it did not fall to the King’s daughter to be sacrificed to that dragon. And perhaps St George did not really rescue her, slay the dragon, convert the city, and give away his magnificent reward to feed the poor. But the sanctity of any stripe involves just such confidence in God and self-sacrificial love for one’s neighbor, so even if the facts are false, I daresay the story is true.  But that wasn’t the end of St George’s heroic Christian courage. A bit later on, the Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian instigated yet another violent persecution against the Christians. George saw that the threats of torture and death chilled the hearts of his brethren. To embolden them, he marched into the city square and loudly announced that the local gods were demons and his God was the real God.  The provost promptly arrested him and tried to turn him from Christ with various cajoleries and tortures. Now, maybe St George’s miraculous resistance to all tortures (nothing seemed to damage him, not poison, nor boiling oil, nor red-hot irons) did not, in fact, convert everyone who witnessed them, but it surely converted some. And one soul brought closer to Christ is a greater miracle than any number of prodigious feats.  So don’t pay any attention to modern skeptics; pray hard, study hard, and slay every dragon they throw at you.

Count on my prayers, Uncle Eddy.


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