From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Wed May 4 23:45:40 2022
Prudence in Action
DO NOT yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things
carefully and patiently in the light of God's will. For very often,
sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others
rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and
is likely to appear in speech. Not to act rashly or to cling
obstinately to one's opinion, not to believe everything people say or
to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ -- book 1 Ch. 4
May 5th – St. Irene The Great Martyr
Irene was born in the city of Magedon in Persia during the fourth
century. She was the daughter of the pagan king Licinius, and her
parents named her Penelope.
Penelope was very beautiful, and her father kept her isolated in a
high tower from the time she was six so that she would not be exposed
to Christianity. He also placed 13 young maidens in the tower with
her. An old tutor by the name of Apellian was assigned to give her the
best possible education. Apellian was a Christian, and during her
lessons, he told the girl about Christ the Savior and taught her the
Christian Faith and the Christian virtues. When Penelope reached
adolescence, her parents began to think about her marriage. One day, a
dove flew through the window carrying an olive branch in its beak,
depositing it upon a table. Then an eagle swooped in with a wreath of
flowers in its beak, and also placed it upon the table. Finally, a
raven flew in carrying a snake, which it dropped on the table.
Penelope was puzzled by these events and wondered what they meant.
Apellian explained that the dove signified her education, and the
olive branch stood for the grace of God which is received in Baptism.
The eagle with the wreath of flowers represented success in her future
life. The raven and the snake foretold her future suffering and
sorrow. At the end of the conversation Apellianus said that the Lord
wished to betroth her to Himself and that Penelope would undergo much
suffering for her heavenly Bridegroom. After this Penelope refused
marriage, was baptized by the priest Timothy, and she was named Irene
(peace). She even urged her own parents to become Christians. Shortly
after this, she destroyed all her father's idols.
Since St. Irene had dedicated herself to Christ, she refused to marry
any of the suitors her father had chosen for her. When Licinius
learned that his daughter refused to worship the pagan gods, he was
furious. He attempted to turn her from Christ by having her tortured.
She was tied up and thrown beneath the hooves of wild horses so that
they might trample her to death, but he horses remained motionless.
Instead of harming the saint, one of the horses charged Licinius,
seized his right hand and tore it from his arm. Then it knocked
Licinius down and began to trample him. They untied the holy virgin,
and through her prayers Licinius rose unharmed in the presence of
eyewitnesses with his hand intact.
Seeing such a miracle, Licinius and his wife, and many of the people,
(about 3000 men) believed in Christ and turned from the pagan gods.
Resigning his administrative duties, Licinius devoted himself to the
service of the Lord Jesus Christ.
St. Irene lived in the house of her teacher Apellian, and she began to
preach Christ among the pagans, converting them to the path of
When Sedecius, the new prefect of the city, heard of this miracle he
summoned Apellian and questioned him about Irene's manner of life.
Apellian replied that Irene, like other Christians, lived in strict
temperance, devoting herself to constant prayer and reading holy
books. Sedecius summoned the saint to him and urged her to stop
preaching about Christ. He also attempted to force her to sacrifice to
the idols. St. Irene staunchly confessed her faith before the prefect,
not fearing his wrath, and prepared to undergo suffering for Christ.
By order of Sedecius she was thrown into a pit filled with vipers and
serpents. The saint spent ten days in the pit and remained unharmed,
for an angel of the Lord protected her and brought her food. Sedecius
ascribed this miracle to sorcery, and he subjected St. Irene to many
other tortures, but she remained unharmed. Under the influence of her
preaching and miracles even more people were converted to Christ, and
turned away from the worship of inanimate idols.
Sedecius was deposed by his son Savorus, who persecuted Christians
with an even greater zeal than his father had done. St. Irene went to
her home town of Magedon in Persia to meet Savorus and his army, and
ask him to end the persecution. When he refused, St. Irene prayed and
his entire army was blinded. She prayed again and they received their
sight once more. In spite of this, Savorus refused to recognize the
power of God. Because of his insolence, he was struck and killed by a
bolt of lightning.
After this, St. Irene walked into the city and performed many
miracles. She returned to the tower built by her father, accompanied
by the priest Timothy. Through her teaching, she converted five
thousand people to Christ.
Next, the saint went to the city of Callinicus, or Callinicum
(possibly on the Euphrates River in Syria). The ruler of that place
was King Numerian, the son of Sebastian. When she began to teach about
Christ, she was arrested and tortured by the pagan authorities. She
was placed into three bronze oxen which were heated by fire. She was transferred from one to another, but miraculously she remained
uninjured. Thousands of idolaters embraced Christianity as a result
of this wondrous event. Sensing the approach of death, Numerian
instructed his eparch Babdonus to continue torturing the saint in
order to force her to sacrifice to idols. Once again, the tortures
were ineffective, and many people turned to Christ.
Christ's holy martyr then traveled to the city of Constantina, forty
miles northeast of Edessa. By 330, the Persian king Sapor II (309-379)
had heard of St. Irene's great miracles. To prevent her from winning
more people to Christ, she was arrested, beheaded, and then buried.
However, God sent an angel to raise her up again, and she went into
the city of Mesembria.
After seeing her alive and hearing her preach, the local king was
baptized with many of his subjects. Wishing to convert even more
pagans to Christianity, St. Irene went to Ephesus, where she taught
the people and performed many miracles. The Lord revealed to her that
the end of her life was approaching. Then St. Irene left the city
accompanied by six people, including her former teacher Apellian. On
the outskirts of the town, she found a new tomb in which no one had
ever been buried. After making the Sign of the Cross, she went inside, directing her companions to close the entrance to the cave with a
large stone, which they did. When Christians visited the cave four
days later, they did not find the body of the saint.
Apellian returned after only two days, and found the stone rolled away
and the tomb empty. Thus did God glorify St. Irene, who loved Him and
devoted her life to serving Him. Although many of these miracles may
seem improbable to those who are skeptical, nothing is impossible with
St. Irene led thousands of people to Christ through her preaching, and
by her example. The Church continues to honor her memory and to seek
her heavenly intercession.
The holy, glorious Great Martyr Irene is invoked by those wishing to
effect a swift and happy marriage. In Greece, she is also the patron
saint of policemen. St. Irene is also one of the 12 Virgin Martyrs who
appeared to St. Seraphim of Sarov (January 2) and the Diveyevo nun
Eupraxia on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1831. By her holy
prayers, may the Lord have mercy upon us and save us.
When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to
be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and
--St. Paul of the Cross
When you have done everything that was commanded you, say, "We are unprofitable servants." (Luke 17:10)
Prayer Before a Crucifix
O good Jesus, hide me within Thy wounds.
Behold, O good and sweetest Jesus,
before Thy Face I humbly kneel,
and with the greatest fervour of my soul I pray
and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
of faith, hope, and charity, with true contrition for my sins and
a most firm purpose of amendment, whilst I contemplate with
great sorrow and affection Thy five wounds and ponder them
over in my mind, having before my eyes the words which long
ago David the prophet spoke in Thy own person concerning
Thee, O good Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My
feet, they have numbered all My bones."
Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, that we who devoutly cherish
Thy wounds, having them impressed on our hearts,
may honour them by our actions and our life.