Thursday, November 8, 2012

Catholic Anecdotes: The Martyr's Last Word/Image and Likeness

Q. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul?
A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.
The life of the soul cannot be destroyed. A holy
martyr, named Philemon, who suffered death for the
faith of Christ during the reign of the Emperor
Constantine, gave the pagan judge who condemned
him an explanation of Our Lord s words :
" Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul," 
in the following manner: Philemon,together with several other Christians, had been ar
rested by order of the governor of a town in Egypt,
and brought before the judge, who threatened to put
them to terrible torture if they would not renounce
the faith and deny Christ. Thereupon Philemon
begged the judge to give him permission to speak ;
he had an important communication to make to him.
Having received permission, he further asked that a
large brass vessel might be brought, and a little child
also. This being done, he placed the child in the
vessel, and closed the lid ; he then requested some
archers to discharge their arrows at the vessel. All
the arrows naturally rebounded from it, and fell to
the ground. Immediately Philemon removed the
lid and lifted out the child. "
See," he said, " this
child is unharmed by all the arrows aimed at him.
So it is with us Christians. Our body is like this
brass vessel ; the soul is contained within it, as the
child was in the vessel. You may, O judge, torture
and kill our body, but you cannot injure, much less
destroy, the soul." The Christian hero was forth
with led out to death with his co-religionists.

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