August 8—St. Cyriacus and His Companions, Martyrs and Blessed Peter Favre
St. Cyriacus was a holy deacon at Rome, under the Popes Marcellinus and Marcellus. In the persecution of Diocletian, in 303, he was crowned with a glorious martyrdom in that city. With him suffered also Largua and Smaragdus, and twenty others. Their bodies were first buried near the place of their execution, on the Salarian Way, but were soon after removed to a farm of the devout Lady Lucina, on the Ostian Road, on the eighth day of August.
Reflection.—To honor the martyrs and duly celebrate their festivals, we must learn their spirit and study to imitate them according to the circumstances of our state. We must, like them, resist evil, must subdue our passions, suffer afflictions with patience, and bear with others without murmuring or complaining. The cross is the ladder by which we must ascend to heaven.
BLESSED PETER FAVRE
BORN in 1506 of poor Savoyard shepherds, Peter, at his earnest request, was sent to school, and in after years to the University of Paris. His college friends were St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. Ignatius found the young man’s heart ready for his thoughts of apostolic zeal; Peter became his first companion, and in the year of England’s revolt was ordained the first priest of the new Society of Jesus. From that day to the close of his life he was ever in the van of the Church’s struggles with falsehood and sin. Boldly facing heresy in Germany, he labored not less diligently to rouse up the dormant faith and charity of Catholic courts and Catholic lands. The odor of Blessed Peter’s virtues drew after him into religion the Duke of Gandia, Francis Borgia, and a young student of Nimeguen, Peter Canisius, both to become Saints like their master. The Pope, Paul III., had chosen Blessed Favre to be his theologian at the Council of Trent, and King John III., of Portugal, wished to send him as patriarch and apostle into Abyssinia. Sick and worn with labor, but obedient unto death, the father hastened back to Rome, where his last illness came upon him. He died, in his fortieth year, as one would wish to die, in the very arms of his best friend and spiritual father, St. Ignatius.
Reflection.—As the body sinks under fatigue unless supported by food, so external works, however holy, wear rut the soul which is not regularly nourished by prayer. In the most crowded day we can make time briefly and secretly to lift our soul to God and draw new strength from Him.
Taken from the “Pictorial Lives of the Saints: with Reflections for Every Day in the Year”