Fr. Don Miller, OFM
Image: Mosaics in Mount of Beatitudes | photo by Deror avi
Saint Justin Martyr
Saint of the Day for June 1
(c. 100 – 165)
Saint Justin Martyr’s Story
Justin never ended his quest for religious truth even when he converted to Christianity after years of studying various pagan philosophies.
As a young man, he was principally attracted to the school of Plato. However, he found that the Christian religion answered the great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers.
Upon his conversion he continued to wear the philosopher’s mantle, and became the first Christian philosopher. He combined the Christian religion with the best elements in Greek philosophy. In his view, philosophy was a pedagogue of Christ, an educator that was to lead one to Christ.
Justin is known as an apologist, one who defends in writing the Christian religion against the attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. Two of his so-called apologies have come down to us; they are addressed to the Roman emperor and to the Senate.
For his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin was beheaded in Rome in 165.
As patron of philosophers, Justin may inspire us to use our natural powers–especially our power to know and understand–in the service of Christ, and to build up the Christian life within us. Since we are prone to error, especially in reference to the deep questions concerning life and existence, we should also be willing to correct and check our natural thinking in light of religious truth. Thus we will be able to say with the learned saints of the Church: I believe in order to understand, and I understand in order to believe.
Feast Day: June 1
Born: 100 at Nablus, Palestine
Died: 165, Rome, Roman Empire
Feast Day: June 01
Born: (around) 100 :: Died: (around) 166
St. Justin was from Samaria. His father brought him up without any belief in God. When he was a boy, Justin read poetry, history and science. As he grew up, he kept on studying trying to find the truth about God.
One day as he was walking along the seashore, Justin met an old man and they began to talk. Justin looked troubled, so the man asked him what was on his mind. Justin explained that he was unhappy because he had not found the truth about God in all the books he had read. The old man told him about Jesus, the Savior and asked Justin to pray so that he would be able to understand the truth about God.
St. Justin began to pray and to read the Word of God, the Bible. He grew to love it very much. He was also impressed to see how brave the Christians were who were dying for their belief in and love for Jesus. Soon Justin became a Christian. Then he used his great knowledge to explain and defend the faith with many writings.
In Rome St. Justin was arrested for being a Christian. The judge asked him, “Do you think that by dying you will enter heaven and be rewarded?” “I don’t just think so,” the saint answered. “I am sure of it!” He along with many other Christians were killed for their faith in Jesus. They gladly died as martyrs around the year 166.”
Reflection: How often do I read the Bible? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us love the word of God and to keep our faith strong. We can say this little prayer of faith: “My God, I believe in you.”
Thursday, June 1
Liturgical Color: Red
Today is the Memorial of St.
Justin, martyr. Justin was a
pagan philosopher who
converted to Christianity after
witnessing the faith of the
martyrs of his day. Many of his
defenses of the faith are still
presented today. He was
beheaded in 165 A.D.
Easter: June 1st
Memorial of St. Justin, martyr
Meditation: John 17:20-26
Saint Justin, Martyr (Memorial)
That they may all be one. (John 17:21)
How can so many different people become united? Not even one person is the same as another. There’s the tattoo-covered teenager down the street, the atheist coworker, even the Christian relative from a different denomination. How can Jesus possibly expect us to be one with all the “others” in our midst?
By the power of the Holy Spirit, that’s how. One of the Spirit’s greatest works is to create unity. Think, on a cosmic scale, of how he brought together heaven and earth, God and humanity, through the cross of Christ. Recall too how he brought together Pharisees and tax collectors, Gentiles and Jews, centurions and fishermen, into one Church in Jerusalem. Prejudices and fears melted away as the Spirit touched people’s hearts and showed them how magnificent life could be if they all came together in Christ.
Does unity mean everyone is identical? No! God created us as unique individuals, each with the ability to glorify him in our own way. He doesn’t want us to be all the same; he wants us to put off the temptation to separate from those who are different from us and to treat them as unequal. On the contrary, he wants us to see how we belong to each other and how we are all loved and treasured by our heavenly Father.
Becoming one with the 6.5 billion people on our planet is unrealistic. But we can focus on becoming one with the people we see every day, especially our spouse or children.
Today is a good day to come to the Lord in prayer and ask him to show us how we think about people who are different from us. A few specific groups or individuals might come to mind.
Do you sense any judgment or envy in your thoughts toward them? Ask the Spirit to replace those thoughts with love. Love doesn’t push away; it draws near and seeks to break down barriers.
“Holy Spirit, teach me how to join in the prayer of Jesus. Lord, make us all one!”
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
Daily Marriage Tip for June 1, 2017:
Parenting can feel all-consuming, especially if you have young children. Periodically take time to visit a friend, renew a hobby and, especially, reconnect with your spouse. You will feel refreshed and more responsive to your children.
Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Father Paul Campbell, LC
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.
Petition: Lord, increase my faith in your love.
1. Who is God? In his first epistle, John tells us that God is love. Before the foundation of the world, the Father loved the Son. Within the Trinity there is a perfect sharing of life and love. Even after the Incarnation, Jesus remained in his Father’s love. At Christ’s baptism, the Father spoke of his love for his Son. “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). At the Transfiguration he repeated this sign of love: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). These moments manifest God’s inner life.
2. A Share in His Life: God created us to share in the loving relationship of the Trinity. The Father’s plan is to love us, to bring us into Trinitarian love. He wants to love us in his Son with a Father’s eternal love. If we could catch a mere glimpse of the reality of this love, it would transform our lives. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world (see John 3:16). Love is at the heart of the universe.
3. Sharing in God’s Love: God is love, and if he is in us, it is as love. God pours his love, himself, into our hearts. As he shares his life, he shares his love. This is the love that he wants us to give to others. Jesus gave his disciples the love he had received from his Father, and sent them forth to continue his work of sharing that love with all of humanity. Think of the people today who are lonely and lost, starving for love and attention. They have no clue that God loves them with an eternal love or that he has loved them intimately, deeply and perfectly from all eternity. They do not know that this love has given them life and maintains them in existence. People need to hear the good news of God’s love. This is our mission.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to share your love with those around me. Don’t allow me to remain focused just on myself and the circumstances in my life. I need you. I need your love, as do so many others. I need to love in order to give myself to your work, but I also need your constant help and support.
Resolution: I will let someone know that God loves them.
June 1, 2017
When John the evangelist wrote his Gospel, the Church was already divided into factions and different groups. Today, John presents Christ’s moving prayer for unity.
Was there ever unity in the world? Too many forces pull apart families, communities, religions and nations. Such divisions are always destructive. The worst is when this division occurs because of different beliefs in God. No wonder the climax of Jesus’ prayer is his urgent plea for unity among his disciples and among future Christians. For he sees in disunity one of the greatest temptations and one of the greatest victories of the evil one.
What is the root of disunity? Usually, it is pride, selfishness, stubbornness, the refusal to compromise or to sit down together and dialogue. The prayer of Jesus makes us aware of how dear the issue of unity is to his heart. The last popes took up this issue and worked hard to bring the different Christian groups together, especially Pope John Paul II, who went out of his way like no other Church leader before him to reach out to other Christian Churches and non-Christian religions. We have seen him embracing Patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches.
It would be good to ask ourselves today: How do I contribute to unity in my own surroundings, my family, my community, my parish? May we continue to do in our own little way, in our own limited environment what Pope John Paul II did on a large scale. May the Spirit of unity encourage us and give us the strength to be instruments of unity wherever we are and in this way contribute our share in bringing to fulfillment Christ’s greatest desire: that all may be one.
One Bread, One Body
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All Issues > Volume 33, Issue 4
|<< Thursday, June 1, 2017 >>
||Pentecost Novena – Day 7
|Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
|Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11
|“I pray that they may be [one] in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” �John 17:21
|God created man and woman to be one flesh, crafting a supernatural unity (Gn 2:24). Adam and Eve sinned against God, and with their fallen nature, humanity has inherited a tendency to fracture into disunity. Before long, mankind was so wicked (Gn 6:5) that God wiped them out in the flood (Gn 7:23).
So God started over again with Noah’s family, and again the human race began with unity (Gn 8:16). Before long, man’s pride again resulted in a false unity, as men joined to glorify themselves rather than God (Gn 11:4ff). So God decided to bring division (cf Lk 12:51), through different languages and physical dispersion.
After many years, God sent His Son “to gather into one all the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). Jesus did this by ascending into heaven and, with the Father, sending forth the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Spirit started over again and reversed man’s disunity. The apostles and disciples “were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues” (Acts 2:4). Dispersed people heard and understood the gospel in their own language (Acts 2:11).
Our fallen human nature tends toward disunity. Yet God makes us “sharers of the divine nature” (2 Pt 1:4) by giving us the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can unite us. “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22). Come, Holy Spirit of unity! (Eph 4:3)
|Prayer: Prayer: Holy Spirit, pour out the love of God in my heart (Rm 5:5). Give me Your heart for Christian unity.
|Promise: Promise: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in Your presence, the delights at Your right hand forever.” �Ps 16:11
|Praise: Praise: St. Justin, the first Christian apologist of whom we have writings, promoted the Faith in Asia Minor and Rome.