The Trials of the Martyrs: Saints Julitta and Quiricus, Her Son August 30, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, martyrdom, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
From the Victories of the Martyrs by Saint Alphonsus (translated by Fr. Eugene Grimm, CSsR), the story of St. Julitta and St. Quiricus, her son. This is one of the more heart-rending martyrdoms of the early Church, not for the horrendous tortures to which the Saints were subjected, but for the situation of a young mother and son martyred together, within sight of each other. Saint Alphonsus makes clear the tortures of many of the martyrs were almost beyond imagining. He also makes clear that what gave power to the endless cruelty of the torturers was the hatred with which the pagans have always held the Christian religion, and the demonic influence which dominates those unpossessed of Grace.
Pagans hate Christians because our existence – lived rightly – is a reproach upon their conscience. Something for us to consider as we see the world growing increasingly dark all around us. Another source of their hatred is the exclusivity of belief that faith in Jesus Christ demands; the world will tolerate weak, worldly Christians after a fashion, if they are willing to not be too serious, too committed, too “fundamentalist,” too, ultimately, convicted. Amazingly, we see this same hatred of truly devout, believing Christians even among most of the leadership of the Church today, even, to the very highest office entrusted by God to man. This last factor is what makes the present crisis the worst the Church has ever experienced, in the minds of many.
At any rate, Saints Julitta and Quiricus, who died because they were viewed as so “obstinate” and “intolerant,” refusing to burn a pinch of incense to false gods. What a contrast to the conduct of so many in the Church today, who are happy to light veritable bonfires to the false gods of this present world, whether that god be called ecumenism, leftism, secularism, or what have you:
St. Julitta was a noble of the city of Iconium. During the reign of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximiam, a most cruel tyrant called Domitian was governor of the province. While the persecution was raging most violently, St. Julitta took her infant son Quiricus, only three years old, and accompanied by two female servants, fled for safety to Seleucia in Isauria; where, however, she found Alexander, the Proconsul of Cilicia, who exercised a no less barbarous cruelty than Domitian against those Christians who refused to sacrifice to the Gods. The Saint passed from Seleucia to Tharsis, where Alexander arrived about the same time. Having been recognized, she was arrested and conducted before the judge with the infant Quiricus in her arms. Fire and incense were produced, in order that, renouncing Jesus Christ, she might sacrifice; but the Saint answered: “I am a Christian and therefore am prepared to lose not only my property, but even my life, rather than deny my God.” The judge frequently urged her to abjure her faith; but she who wished to compensate her temporal loss by the acquisition of eternal gains uniformly replied: “I am a Christian: I cannot deny Jesus Christ.”
Alexander, infuriated by her constancy, ordered that the child should be torn from her embrace, and that she should be cruelly scourged; but the holy lady under this torture fervently and continually repeated: “I am a Christian; I cannot sacrifice to your gods.” Quiricus, meanwhile, was beholding the agonies of his mother, and struggled to return to her embrace; but Alexander, to quiet him, placed him on his knee, and endeavored to kiss him. The child, however, kept his eyes fixed on his mother, and by plunging and kicking, tried to free himself from the tyrant, crying out at the same time: “I also am a Christian.” The inhuman wretch dashed the child from him, and the agonizing mother, seeing the steps of the throne bespattered with the blood and brains of her infant, exclaimed: “I give Thee thanks, O my God! for having called by boy before me to Thyself!” [Oh what strength can Grace impart! While I have grave doubts as to how I would hold up under physical torture, the torture of seeing my children threatened with harm, even death, would, I fear, be a very great temptation to me. May God grant that this never pass. Obviously, such strength is beyond human nature and is due to a supreme supernatural influence. If such tortures should ever threaten, I pray God grant me such Grace, otherwise I know I would fail]
The brutal judge, still more infuriated by this exclamation, caused her sides to be torn with iron hooks, and boiling pitch to be poured upon her feet. Meanwhile one of the bystanders said to her: “Julitta, have pity upon thyself; perish not as thy son has perished; sacrifice to the gods.” “I cannot,” she replied, “sacrifice to devils and mute statues. I adore the Lord Jesus, and wish to meet my son in Heaven;” upon which the judge decreed that she should be beheaded. This sentence filled the Saint with joy. Arrived at the place of the last struggle, she cast herself upon her knees, as Father Massini relates in his beautiful work of the lives of the Saints, according to the acts of the martyrs by Ruinart.
She then prayed after the following matter: “O God who hast been pleased to admit my child to a participation of the glory of Thy Saints, turn Thine eyes of mercy towards me also, and grant me a place among the souls destined to love Thee and adore Thee forever.” Having finished her prayer her head was at once cut off. I is thus that Julitta, with her heart inflamed with holy love and full of joy, consummated her sacrifice in the year 304.
There is some assertion that Saint Alphonsus confused the location of the martyrdom, and where the martyr lived prior to her assent to Heaven. But this is of no import to the overall meaning and value of this story.
Saint Julitta and Quiricus, pray for us! Pray that our world return from the precipice of final descent into atheistic barbarism and total impiety! Pray that we may be a light that, through Grace, guides souls back to faith in Jesus Christ and His Church. Soften the hearts of the leaders of our Church so that the Truth, the full Truth, may be taught at all times. And, should the worst happen, pray for us to have the strength of faith and cooperation with Grace that you so gloriously evidenced.