A 4th century party game gone Wrong  ( — I mean, Right)

Coins of Emperor Julian

I was reading the (daily) Martyrology this morning which lists briefly some of those who have died on this date because of their Christian witness.   The word “martyr,” of course comes from the Greek word that means “to witness”  or “to testify.”   Today I came across the name of St. Porphyry.  He lived under the time of St. Julian the Apostate, an emperor of Rome who left his Christian faith and thought maybe he and the Roman Empire could be more powerful with the help of the ancient gods of Rome.

Along the way he developed the cruel, mocking, irreverent humor that we see in today’s most popular “comedians.”

He and Prophyry were putting on a show one day, mocking the Christians, blaspheming God.  In one skit that was meant to be funny,  they went through the motions of ridiculing the sacrament of baptism.   Really funny.

They must have imitated a baptism exactly and it must have been time for the Heavens to turn the tables on them, because something happened inside of Porphyry.  His heart was opened and his mind was illumined by the truth of the holy sacrament:   It really is a holy act which touches deep down into the soul of a man with the power of the Living God.

It was the Truth.   Porphyry witnessed it, and he bore witness of it to Julian the Apostate, who promptly commanded that he be beaten.  Julian probably assumed that at some point Porphyry would say something like – “Just kidding,  I was just taking the joke too far. “

But he couldn’t, and he didn’t.  Porphyry was granted the grace of being an eyewitness to the truth of baptism and of the God Who Saves.  The beating didn’t stop until he lost his earthly life that day and gained his eternal life.

I’d love to know more about his story.   What I want is a good eyewitness to Porphyry and Julian

St. Porphyry is just one of many stories of martyrdom throughout the centuries, and continuing and probably accelerating in number today.   They are all giving witness to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

How much more, then, should I be asking for a “good eyewitness” to Him!   How much more should I want to know and understand Jesus, when He lived here on earth!    I have the Gospels, I have the whole Bible, I have the traditions and teachings of the Faith…and I do indeed have one very good eyewitness who remained close to Jesus and witnessed His whole life here and who felt what He felt….as only a mother knows her son.

I know from experience that a son lives in his mother’s heart….he is always there.    I know that Mary is the best eyewitness to Jesus that we have.

And I know that the name of her eyewitness story is:  “The Seven Sorrows of Mary.”   September is the month that we examine  The Seven Sorrows of Mary and September 15 is the day for it on the Liturgical Calendar.      Eyewitness to the Life and  Passion of Christ.   Just so you know.

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