Monday, May 08, 2006
Saint George is one of the great martyrs of the early Church. He was a soldier and rose to high rank in the Roman Army. The Emperor Diocletian honored George for his great bravery.
When George became a Christian, he resigned his position in the army, and rebuked the Emperor himself for being so cruel to the Christians. He first sold everything he had and gave the money to the poor. Then, free to follow Jesus and bearing the shield of faith, he became a loyal soldier for Christ.
George paid a very high price for his bravery. He was put into prison and tortured, but nothing could make him change his mind. He was beheaded.
The Christians took his body to Palestine. Pilgrimages were made later to his tomb in the Holy Land, and many miracles were worked through his prayers before God.
The figure of St. George and the Dragon is a symbol of his Christian courage in overcoming the spirit of evil, the devil, who in the Bible is called the dragon.
Many songs and poems were written about this martyr who gave his life for Jesus. Soldiers, especially, have always been devoted to him. Because of his gracious behavior (protecting women, fighting evil, strong faith, strength, bravery, and generosity to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe and he was named the patron of England. His feast day, April 23rd was declared a public holiday.
O Lord, we acclaim Your might and humbly pray. Just as St. George imitated the Lord's Passion, so let him come to the aid of our weakness. Amen.