In his youth, St. George chose a soldier’s life, and soon obtained the favor of Diocletian. But when the emperor began to persecute the Christians, St. George rebuked him and threw up his commission. He was in consequence tortured and beheaded. As years rolled by, St. George became a type of successful combat against evil, the slayer of the dragon, the darling theme of camp and story.
Lord, Thou hast compassed him with favor as with a shield. — Vespers
The Imitation of Christ
Everyone, therefore, should be solicitous about his temptations, and watch in prayer, lest the devil find opportunity to catch him; who never sleepeth, but goeth about, seeking whom he may devour.
Since St. Sebastian, this is the first outstanding soldier saint we have had. And don’t you admire a fearless soldier when he is at the same time a man; that is, one who fights successfully the battles in his own soul? St. George is always represented slaying a huge monster.
Pray to St. George for power against temptation, and learn to know that it is not the number of stripes on your sleeve that mark your distinction as a soldier, but the victories your angel chalks up won on your own private battlefield.
His strength was as the strength of ten because his heart was pure. — Tennyson, of Sir Galahad