THE Church celebrates this day the memory of St. Eusebius, who opposed the Arians, at Rome, with so much zeal. He was imprisoned in his room by order of the Emperor Constantius, and sanctified his captivity by constant prayer. For the Catholic Encyclopedia article on him, click here.
An earlier Saint of the same name, a priest and martyr, is commemorated on this day. In the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, before they had published any new edicts against the Christians, Eusebius, a holy priest, a man eminently endowed with the spirit of prayer and all apostolical virtues, suffered death for the Faith, probably in Palestine. The Emperor Maximian happening to be in that country, complaint was made to Maxentius, president of the province, that Eusebius distinguished himself by his zeal in invoking and preaching Christ, and the holy man was seized. Maximian was by birth a barbarian, and one of the roughest and most brutal and savage of all men. Yet the undaunted and modest virtue of this stranger, set off by a heavenly grace, struck him with awe. He desired to save the servant of Christ, but, like Pilate, would not give himself any trouble or hazard incurring the displeasure of those whom on all other occasions he despised. Maxentius commanded him to sacrifice to the pagan gods, and on refusing, Eusebius was condemned to be beheaded.
Upon hearing the sentence pronounced, the Saint said aloud, “I thank Your goodness and praise Your power, O Lord Jesus Christ, that, by calling me to the trial of my fidelity, You have treated me as one of Yours.” He at that instant heard a voice from heaven saying to him, “If you had not been found worthy to suffer, you could not be admitted into the court of Christ or to the seats of the just.” Being come to the place of execution, he knelt down, and his head was struck off (c. 310 A.D.).
Reflection.—Let us learn, from the example of the Saints, courage in the service of God. He calls upon us to endure suffering of body and of mind, if necessary, to prove our fidelity to Him; and He promises to support us by His strength, His light, and His heavenly consolation.