20 January 2013

20 January - Saints Fabian and Sebastian

On Saint Sebastian, we are quit of winter [yes, well, it may seem like it today, but don’t put away your long underwear just yet]

When the bearded saint,                     (Anthony, 17 January)
And the arrow-pierced saint,              (Sebastian, 20 January)
Ant the combed saint have passed      (Blaise, 4 February)
Then the cold is over.

[That is as may be.  Here it should actually say something like
“When the Dragon-slayer has passed      (George, 23 April)
Then the cold is over.”
“When the Dove has passed          (Pentecost, sometime in May usually)
Then the cold is over.”
(I have seen a chill in May kill my newly planted tomatoes…)]

The last twelve days of January rule the weather for the whole year.  [Which someone else can track.  I’ve done my part with the 12 days of Christmas and the first 12 days of January]

Speaking of which, the sun shone bright and clear here at Rudd’s Little Acre on the 4th of January, aka Saint Parailde’s day (corresponding to April (first 12 days) and also to November (12 Days of Xmas).  According to weather lore:
If the sun shines on Saint Parailde’s day, it foretells pestilence.
If the sun shines on the 11th day of Christmas, then will there be many deaths among men [probably from the pestilence].

Boo on both counts. 

Saint Sebastian (a manly man if evert there was one) was invoked against the pestilence, as the plague was often symbolized as arrows of death.  Perhaps those of us who DON’T think the eradication of men to be a Good Thing should ask Sebastian to intercede and keep both pestilence and death at bay.

Today is the feast of Saint Fabian, Pope, and Saint Sebastian, Soldier, both martyrs for Our Lord.

Fabian was the leader of the Christians during a time of peace for them.  The persecutions had ended, and the Church grew and thrived.  Lots of people became Christians (the ‘in’ thing that season) and used their substance to build churches and relieve the poor and sing a New Church into being and earn really neat quill pens blessed by the Emperor by telling him that his pet projects were really in line with Christian thinking. But this small pocket of peace ended, and the persecutions began again under Decius, of which Pope Fabian was one of the first martyrs.  Lots of the new Christians, and not a few of the old ones (especially those with souvenir quill pens), fell away and apostatized. 

Well, after all, persecution IS hard, no question.  You start by being one who “doesn’t play well with others”, followed by the loss of your job (not ostensibly because of your religion, because that would be illegal.)  Then there are government thugs intimidating your family (it only takes an APB on your car tags or your children failed in school for your beliefs, but don’t worry, your children will be trained to denounce you if they want to get ahead); your bank accounts frozen (so easily done, just ask Rhode Island) – which means your bills cannot be paid (which means that you have no electricity or heat, and eventually no house); no money, which means no way to feed your family, or even move away to someplace less biased.  And then you are moved to 'camps', so that you don't contaminate others... and then somebody decides that you have no right to live.

Sound familiar?  If not, stand by.  It will.  And then watch the apostatizing begin.  Pray for the strength not to be one of them.

As for Saint Sebastian, you can read several excellent posts by Mr. Nelson of Abbey Roads.  Please pray for to those sorry souls who co-opt the saints for their own wrong-doing.

And please pray for us sorry souls who don’t fly to the saints enough for our souls’ benefit.

This is also the Eve of Saint Agnes.  I hope you young ladies have been fasting today.

"Saints Fabian and Sebastian", The Hours of Catherine of Cleves (15th century)