Monday, 24 August 2009

St. Bartholomew

Today is the feast day of St. Bartholomew. Flayed alive and beheaded, his emblem is a butcher’s knife and he is the patron saint of leatherworkers and tanners. Earlier this month Christians remembered St. Lawrence whose martyrdom involved being grilled over a slow fire, emblem: gridiron and patron saint of cooks.

The associations are made so direct that they serve as aide-mémoires to the sacrifices the Saints made and that Christians may ever be called upon to make. In the centuries of Christian growth the idea that Christians may have to give their lives to preserve a country’s Christian character or take the faith to new lands was at the heart of the culture. I think I read that more homes in pioneer America had a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs than any other book. What a contrast with today. St. Bartholomew sacrificed himself; today’s Church leaders sacrifice their nations for their own status.

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