Ss. Jonas, Barachisius and Companions
During the reign of King Sapor of Persia, these saints were seized and subjected to the most cruel tortures for their faith. When told to obey the king and to worship the gods, they replied that it was more reasonable to obey the immortal King of heaven and earth than a mortal prince.
Courage was theirs which no mocking nor threatening
Daunted, nor all the inventions of cruelty
Broke, when the conquerors, strong under agony,
Crushed the power of the torturer.
— Matins, Hymn
The Imitation of Christ
Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more salutary for thee in this world, than to suffer willingly for Christ.
It is some time now since we have had a feast of a group like loday. There were eleven of them; like a football team with two co-captains, one of whom was St. Jonas. They would not “throw the game” for any price, but gave their lives willingly for their faith,
Perhaps during Lent, after you have been particularly good for a week or two, you felt you had a right to a little digression. There is no obligation to the little voluntary penances you undertake, as you know; but it does prove you just a little coward, does it not, if you cannot hold out against yourself for six weeks,
when you are supposed to be governing yourself for a lifetime?
He that perseveres to the end, he shall be crowned.