Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/24/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The holy deacon and martyr Vincent challenges deacons and all Christians to live a life of heroic virtue

Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the center of its daily life. A culture much like our own. Vincent shows us the power of the Gospel. He beckons us to rededicate our own lives to heroic virtue and service to Jesus Christ and His Church in this Third Christian Millennium, a new missionary age.We must remember, we are all called to be saints.The same power of the Holy Spirit which was at work in both the life and death of Vincent the Deacon is at work within us.

Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history. Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/24/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Deacon, diaconate, St Vincent of Saragossa, St Vincent, Deacon and martyr, patron saints, holiness, heroic virtue, hagiogrpahy, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On January 23 on the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar in the United States we have an optional memorial for St. Vincent, the Deacon and Martyr. It was  moved to commemorate the Day of prayer for the legal protection for unborn children on January 22d.

It is an ancient Feast which is celebrated in the Orthodox Church as well, though on a different day.

Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.

He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history. 

Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

In his holy life and martyrs death Vincent has inspired - and continues to inspire - Christians whose eyes are opened to the continued work of the Holy Spirit in and through Christ's Church as she continues His redemptive mission in a world waiting to be born again. 

Hagiography, a word which refers to the stories of the great heroes and saints of the Church, puts legs on the Gospel, making it walk into our own daily lives and challenge us, no matter what our state in life or vocation, to live heroic and holy lives. Or, at least it should, of we pay attention. We are all called to bear witness to Jesus Christ. 

Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the center of its daily life. A culture much like our own. . 

Vincent shows us the power of the Gospel. He beckons us to rededicate our own lives to heroic virtue and service to Jesus Christ and His Church in this Third Christian Millennium, a new missionary age.We must remember, we are all called to be saints.The same power of the Holy Spirit which was at work in both the life and death of Vincent the Deacon is at work within us.   

We have many ancient accounts and poems of the life and death of Vincent. They all lead us to consider his response to the invitation to compromise. In his case it was put forth by the minions of that evil emperor when he and his dear Bishop were brought to trial for standing up for Jesus Christ and His Church.
 
He could have accepted them and saved his own life. He did not. We have many invitations to compromise. How do we respond? At least up till now, for most of us, the choice has not involved the shedding of our blood. Usually it means the shedding of our reputation and worldly comfort.  

Vincent chose instead the crown of love and entered into the eternal life of communion. His choice has paved the way for the continuing story of the work of the Risen Savior still being written through the witness of His Body, the Church, of which we are all members.  

His outspoken and manly courage so angered the minion of the ruler occupying the seat of the godless secular power of that age that he selected the most vicious of deaths for Vincent. Vincent bore witness to the power which overcomes this world and opens the portal to the new world to come, our faith. (I John 4: 4 and 5)

He was so beloved, in life and death, that several accounts of his victory were put to verse. One recounts the ravens protecting Vincent's body from the vultures, until his Christian brothers and sisters could recover it and treat it with the reverence which holy men and women deserve.

He is considered the patron and intercessor of many groups, including deacons and winemakers. That means his heroic witness of life and death has instructive insight into their own work and vocation. It also means he prays for them from his place in the eternal communion of saints.

The stories of the saints are woven into the stuff of Catholic daily life and culture, reaffirming the truth that to be a Christian is a new way of being human, of being recreated in Jesus Christ, the first born of the new creation. (Colossians1:15, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

As a Deacon of the Catholic Church of the Third Millennium, a time with increasing parallels to the first millennium, the Deacon/Martyr Saints are a great inspiration to me. The older I get the more their heroic witness gives me great comfort and helps me to focus my life and service.

I do not believe it is an accident that the last Council of the Church, Vatican II, which ushered in an age of the lay faithful and reminded all Christians of the universal call to holiness, also restored the Order of Deacon to permanent role of ordained service in the Church.

This is a new missionary age and we need Deacon saints, missionaries and martyrs. We need saints, missionaries and martyrs from among all of the vocations in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. St Vincent the Deacon, please pray for us all.

The great Bishop of Hippo, Augustine, preached a powerful homily honoring the Deacon Vincent which is offered for our reflection this day in the Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Breviary. I offer it below.

******

St. Augustine on the Feast of Vincent the Deacon

To you, said the Apostle Paul, it has been granted for Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.

Vincent had received both these gifts; he had received them, and he kept them. After all, if he had not received them, what would he have had? But he did have faithfulness in his words; he did have endurance in his sufferings.

So do not any of you be too self-assured when offering a word; do not be too confident in your own powers when suffering trials or temptations; because it is from him that we have the wisdom to speak good things wisely, from him the patience to endure bad things bravely.

Call to mind the Lord Christ warning and encouraging his disciples in the gospel; call to mind the king of martyrs equipping his troops with spiritual weapons, indicating the wars to be fought, lending assistance, promising rewards; first saying to his disciples, In this world you will have distress; then immediately adding words that would allay their terrors: But have confidence: I myself have vanquished the world.

So why should we be surprised, dearly beloved, if Vincent was victorious in him by whom the world was vanquished? In this world, he says, you will have distress; such that, even if it distresses, it cannot oppress you; even if it knocks you down, it cannot knock you out. The world mounts a double attack on the soldiers of Christ. It wheedles in order to lead them astray; but it also terrifies, in order to break them. Let us not be held fast by our own pleasures, let us not be terrified by someone else's cruelty, and the world has been vanquished.

At each attack, Christ comes running to the defence, and the Christian is not vanquished. If, in this passion of Vincent's, one only gave thought to human powers of endurance, it would begin to look unbelievable; but if one acknowledges divine power, it ceases even to be wonderful.

Such hideous cruelty was being unleashed on the martyr's body, and such calm serenity was displayed in his voice; such harsh, savage punishments being applied to his limbs, but such assurance echoing in his words, that we would have imagined that in some marvellous way, while Vincent was suffering, that it was someone else and not the speaker that was being tortured.

And indeed, my dearest brethren, that is how it was; undoubtedly that is how it was: someone else was speaking. Christ, you see, promised even this to his witnesses in the gospel, when he was preparing them for this sort of contest. For he said: Do not think beforehand about how or what you are to speak. For it is not you that are speaking, but the Spirit of my Father who is speaking in you.

So the flesh was suffering, and the Spirit was speaking. And while the Spirit was speaking, not only was ungodliness being confounded and convicted, but weakness was even being strengthened and comforted.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

My Memoir of St. Padre Pio: Price of Suffering and Beatification by the Brush of Grace

Image of Padre Pio in death.

By Matt Hicks

Miraculous testimony of an elite level gymnast touched by Padre Pio: 'Pio, like all the saints, is like the window-washer that scales tall buildings to clear away the muck and allow us to see His luminous rays aflame. God sends them, as He pushes us forward, ... continue reading


Which is it? Saint Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa of Kolkata Watch

Image of The icon of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There is confusion over the proper title of Mother Teresa. Her name is appearing in the media as both "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" and "Mother Teresa of Kolkata," sometimes written with the word "Mother" and sometimes without. Which is correct? LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The saints are real and active in our lives! Saint Padre Pio intercedes on behalf of baby with critical heart condition Watch

Image of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with intercession that saved the life of baby Caitlin Dooley.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The saints are real and active in our lives. This is more obvious than ever following the miraculous recovery of a baby in an Irish intensive care unit. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A relic of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with a dramatic improvement in ... continue reading


Clare of Assisi as Model: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Calls for Women of Courage to Renew the Church Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity.  Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


Saint Ignatius of Loyola Challenges All of Us to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


St Irenaeus of Lyon Teaches Us How to Know God Watch

Image of Irenaeus of Lyon wrote these words - The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason, God-who cannot be grasped, comprehended, or seen-allows Himself to be seen, comprehended, and grasped by men, that He may give life to those who see and receive Him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy His goodness.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a  relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading


Here's 3 reasons why the canonization of Mother Teresa matters to you Watch

Image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an example for all to follow, even the nonbeliever.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On September 4, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Her canonization is an important event for Catholics and all people around the world. Here are 3 reasons why. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When Mother Teresa ... continue reading


Bet you didn't know these 10 things about St. Patrick and Ireland!

Image of Saint Patrick in blue vestments.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are ... continue reading


After the Corned Beef: St. Patrick Challenges Modern Christians to be Missionaries

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to learn a lesson from this great missionary. He saw what was good in the culture and "baptized" what could be redeemed. He respected the civil order, but never compromised the faith. Then, he went for the next generation with all his efforts, preaching the ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and cursed the day of his ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for help.3 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:51-56
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him to be taken up, he ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 27th, 2016 Image

St. Vincent de Paul
September 27: St. Vincent de Paul was born to a poor peasant ... Read More