Saint Absadah of Egypt (dates unknown, circa 300). Absadah was born in Behnesa, Egypt at the height of the Diocletianic persecution of Christians, also known as the Great Persecution. During his rule, Emperor Diocletian, building upon the rules first implemented by Emperor Decius, actively implemented laws to dissuade Christians from preaching their faith, believing their faith, and living their faith. Christians were stripped of their possessions, discharged from the armed forces, and relocated. Christians were forced to participate in pagan sacrifices and rituals and to renounce their faith. Punishment of disobeying these laws included arrest, torture, and death. However, this was also a time of great Catholic martyrs—those individuals who lived their faith, and as a result, died for their faith. Without exception, these martyrs went to their deaths without defending themselves in a variety of manners, including burning, beheading, and being torn apart by wild animals. While the Emperor hoped their deaths would discourage the practice of Christianity, the curious calm and conviction of faith of these great martyrs only served to spread the faith throughout the Roman Empire. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 Christians were killed for their faith during this great persecution.
Saint Absadah was a priest of the Church in Egypt, where the persecution of Christians had not yet reached. He feared the unavoidable onset of persecution, however, and was generally consumed by his anxiety. When official decrees announced the laws of the Roman Empire in Egypt, Absadah barricaded himself in his home, planning to hide from persecution, and losing faith in the protection of the Lord. For him, at that moment, Christianity became an inconvenience.
Miraculously, Jesus appeared to Absadah, unhindered by the barricade and locks on the doors. His message, spoken, was quite plain: "No security can repel me, Absadah, and no persecution can truly kill me for I am the resurrection and the life."
Absadah realized that to hide was to deny Jesus, the Catholic faith, and the protection of the Resurrection. Absadah left his home and turned himself into the authorities. He was tried in court in Alexandria, found guilty of believing in an “unapproved power,” and sentenced to death. Absadah was beheaded outside the city before a crowd of onlookers who were moved by his faith, conviction, and courage.
The early martyrs of the Church faced persecution and death for their beliefs. They held firm to the convictions of their faith, namely that the Son of God, executed for our sins, would protect them in the Resurrection of the body, just as He has been resurrected. The life of Absadah reminds us that Jesus has already won victory for us over any struggle, sin, or persecution we suffer, as long as we trust Him and put our faith in the Lord. How often do we think we can solve life’s problems—both the tiny daily struggles and the larger concerns? We sweat and worry and focus on our solutions, rather than turning to the Lord. Today, we pray for the faith of Absadah—faith in the resurrection and the life.
Day 19 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Increased and consistent faith in the Lord; Those suffering in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake
Requested Intentions: Successful surgery and recovery for father (G); Interfaith dialogue (L)
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."