Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Barbara was brought up as a pagan. She was a very beautiful young woman, and many princes came to ask her father for her hand in marriage. But she refused to marry. Her father built a tower in which he jealously guarded his daughter. She gave herself to prayer and study, and managed to receive instruction and Baptism secretly.
When her father discovered her conversion, he was so angry that he drew his sword to kill her, but God saved her. Later, her father brought her before a civil judge. The judge said to her, "Choose either to offer to the gods or be put to death by cruel torments." Barbara answered, "I offer myself to my God, Jesus Christ, who created Heaven and earth and all things."
After Barbara was beaten, our Lord came to comfort her in a vision. The judges ordered her to be slain with the sword. But her father came for her and took her to a mountain, where he himself beheaded her while she was praying to God to have mercy on his soul.
Suddenly, fire came from heaven and consumed her father.
Barbara was martyred in the year 235. She is invoked against lightning and fire. Her feast day is December 4th.
O God, You give us joy each year when we celebrate the feast of St. Barbara. May she inspire us by her example of courage and chastity and help us by her prayers. Amen.