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The Holy Family in Prayer

Faith, the sustainer of the martyrs.

Saint Symphorian’s father was Faustus, one of the most distinguished men in the city of Autun, who still had the misfortune of being bound to the worship of idols. Unbeknownst to her husband, his mother, who was a fervent Christian, had brought up her son in the principles of the true religion. This was at the time of the persecutions, towards the end of the second century. In those times of bloody memory, to declare oneself strongly for the religion of Jesus Christ, to speak with contempt of the pagan ceremonies, was to run to martyrdom. Symphorian, a young man with a noble and sincere soul, was unable one day to avoid seeing a large procession that accompanied the statue of Cybele, carried on a pompously decorated chariot, and was urged to adore the statue like the others; but it was pointless. Having thus been arrested as a seditious and impious person, the judge made him beat and threw him in prison. After several interrogations, always followed by unheard-of torments, his death sentence was finally pronounced. As he was being led to the place of execution outside the city, his mother, fearing that he would not complete his glorious sacrifice, cried out to him from the ramparts: “My son, remember the living God; arm yourself with constancy and strength; lift up your heart and look up to Him who reigns in heaven. They do not take away your life, but only change it into a better one; they lead you to eternal happiness. The way is narrow and difficult, but it is short.” The holy martyr, animated by this fiery speech, but much more strongly animated by the feeling of hope that lived within him, crowned his sacrifice with great courage and joy. He went to receive from God, in heaven, imperishable goods and honors, as a reward for his constant fidelity in believing and hoping in Him who is always faithful to His word.

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