This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22 -- Feast of Saints Castus and Aemilius

I haven't forgotten about 30 Saints to a More Powerful Vocabulary.  That's not to say I've written any of the chapters, but it could happen.
The Porter in MacBeth

Today's words:
EQUIVOCATE: (verb)  To avoid committing to a position or definitive answer by using vague or ambiguous language.  The act is equivocation, and the actor is an equivocator.  In Shakespeare's MacBeth, the drunken porter condemns an equivocator to the Inferno, saying "Here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven."

APOSTATIZE:  (verb) To abandon one's religion.  The act is apostasy, and the actor is an apostate

REDEEM:  (verb) To recover, to clear an obligation.  The act is redemption and the actor is a redeemer.

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Two of our saints, Castus and Aemilius, were flat-out apostates.  A beatus celebrated on May 22, Blessed John Forrest, was an equivocator.  All redeemed themselves, earning for their pain, suffering, and early deaths a spot on this blog.  Lucky them.

Castus and Aemilius were living in Roman Carthage during the third century.  As Christians during the reign of Trajanus Decius, they were subjected to some brutal tortures.  Unlike so many other saints we've heard about, they apostatized.  The sacrificed to the Capitoline Pantheon (Jupiter, Juno, Diana, Venus, Mars, etc) and were released.  Feeling rotten, they renounced their apostasy and prayed for a second chance to show their faith.  Decius was glad to oblige.  They were burned to death some time around AD 250.

Only you can prevent Forrest fires, Your Majesty. 
Also celebrated on this day, is Blessed John Forrest.  If he sounds familiar, it is because we heard part of his story on April 5 (Feast of Saint Derfel Gaddarn).  He was a sixteenth century English Franciscan priest who served as confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII.  Through some negotiation and equivocation, he dodged the questions of divorce, supremacy, and loyalty for a while.  But Fat Hank wasn't looking for shades of fealty -- he wanted his living subjects to be unfailingly loyal and his dissenting subjects to be dead.  When pressed, Father John Forrest revealed his conscience and was burned at the stake. 

I'm not a big believer in the idea that apostasy is the worst sin.  A moment of weakness, whether brought on by internal doubts or by having your fingernails ripped out with pliers, is human.  Redemption is an act of grace, and what could be finer than God's grace? I don't recommend apostatizing for the sake of redemption -- the Good Lord would see through such a cheap trick -- but neither do I recommend closing the door on those who walked away for one reason or another.

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