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.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7 -- Feast of Saints Auctus, Taurion, and Thessalonica

Thanks for Trying, But a Little Less Help Might Have Been Better

I was talking with a class recently about errors of omission and commission.  I tend to fall toward omission, not because I consider it more virtuous, but rather because I have some fear that I will make things worse if I jump in.  Reading a story like that of Saint Thessalonica slightly  reinforces that fear.

Martyr's Palm and Crown
These folks lived during the reign of Diocletian (late third, early fourth centuries) in Amphipolis, in northeastern Greece, presently a place called Kavala.  Thessalonica was the daughter of a polytheistic priest named Cleon.  When Cleon learned that his daughter had converted to Christianity, he beat her viciously and threw her out of the house, disowning her entirely.  So far, not so bad. 

Auctus and Taurion, being the good Christians they were, tried to intercede on her behalf.  They went to talk to Cleon about piety -- familial and otherwise.  They spoke of charity; they spoke of love. 

Then Cleon spoke, but he spoke to the prefect.  He spoke of piety, filial and otherwise.  He spoke of  Auctus and Taurion, and of his disowned daughter, Thessalonica. 

The prefect let the fire and the sword do his talking, bestowing on the saints the crowns and palms of martyrs.  It was considered a lucky thing for a Christian to get the opportunity to be martyred, and an admirable thing not to cave under pressure and venerate the gods of the pantheon.  Yet how much luckier might they have been if Auctus and Taurion had just found some nice old widow, preferably in another city, who could have taken Thessalonica in? 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.  But what will they be called when the peace they try to make results in the deaths of themselves and others?  They will be called saints, of course.

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