Thursday, January 21, 2010
Daily Readings for:
January 21, 2010
(Readings on USCCB website)
Collect: Almighty, eternal God, you chose what the world considers weak to put the worldly power to shame. May we who celebrate the birth of St. Agnes into eternal joy be loyal to the faith she professed. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Old Calendar: St. Agnes
St. Agnes (c. 304) like St. Cecilia, is to be numbered among the most famous martyrs of Rome. When the Diocletian persecution was at its height, and when priests as well as laymen were apostatizing from the faith, Agnes, a girl of twelve, freely chose to die for Christ. When she was commanded to offer incense to false gods, she raised her hand to Christ and made the Sign of the Cross. When the heathens threatened to bind her hand and foot, she herself hastened to the place of torture as a bride to her wedding feast. Pain had no terror for her—although the fetters slipped from her small hands while even the pagan bystanders were moved to tears.
When the son of the Roman prefect offered to marry her, she replied: "The one to whom I am betrothed is Christ Whom the angels serve." When the executioner, who was to behead her, hesitated, she encouraged him with the words: "Strike, without fear, for the bride does her Spouse an injury if she makes Him wait". The name of "Agnes" means "lamb-life," and hence the lamb is the symbol of the modesty and innocence of the virgin-martyr.