The Witness of Martyrdom
Today’s pilgrimage brings us to the Basilica of San Crisogono in Trastevere. Situated on the site that is believed to have once been occupied by the oldest Church, built as such, in Rome. The church honors the memory of Saint Chrysogonus, a Roman military officer who was martyred under Diocletian at the Northern Italian town of Aquileia in 304. His veneration in Rome dates back to at least the Roman Synod of 499, which mentions the church as the “Titulus Chrysogoni.” The church even has a Washington connection: it is administered by the Trinitarian Order, the same order that runs DeMatha high school. Saint Chrysogonus has the added distinction of being venerated by both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Our Call to Fidelity
The theme of martyrdom ties in closely with the readings for the day, which recall two women accused of adultery: Susana, who is aided by the prophet Daniel and the unnamed woman, who is added by Jesus. One is innocent, the other guilty, but both find themselves attacked by those acting out of a lust for power and pleasure. Their example provides us with lessons to consider as we make our way as pilgrims through the world. First, in the face of guilt, we must renew ourselves by acknowledging our guilt and asking for God’s forgiveness. Second, in the face to unjust attacks on faith and on the Church, we must continue to strive for holiness in witness to the Gospel of Christ, which infuses our lives with purpose and finality. And finally, in the face of the uncertainties and challenges of life, we must stand undaunted, living with the hope that God’s grace will ultimately overcome and transform them.
Blog and Photos by Fr. Justin Huber