20 September 2010

20 September - Saint Eustace

Commemoration of Saint Eustace, patron of hunters, firefighters, and torture victims.  As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, he is invoked against family troubles.  According to his legend, he had plenty of them.

A mighty hunter (and a pagan), Eustace encountered Our Lord in a Crucifix seen between the antlers of a deer he was chasing.  He, his wife, and two sons were baptized, and the troubles began.  He lost all his money and property; his wife and sons were taken by the authorities; if it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all...  However, his services as a soldier were needed to defend the Empire, and he answered his Emperor's call, duly repelling the enemy.  For this, he was reunited with his family - but woe is me!

As Christians, they would not join in the celebratory sacrifice to the gods of Rome, and were condemned to death.

(Take heed here, children - employers only like you when you save their sorry hides.  After that, you are expendable.)

Eustace and his family were thrown to the lions, who must have already had a good dinner, because they didn't do what you might expect.  Therefore, he and family were roasted to death inside a bronze bull.

Read the story of Saint Eustace from the medieval Golden Legend here.

In his honor, perhaps a last barbecue.  Venison steaks would be appropriate.

And perhaps a toast with this, which carries the symbol of Saint Eustace on its label: