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Saint Christopher
Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), Saint Christopher, 1524, fresco, housed at Saint Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy

Today is the Feast of Saint Christopher

(3rd c.)

St. Christopher is a highly popular saint, though little is known about him with certainty. According to one account, a pagan queen prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary for a child, whom she named Offerus and dedicated to the pagan gods. The child grew into a man of exceptional size and strength, and he endeavored to serve only the strongest and most courageous of masters. First he served a heathen king, but soon realized that the king feared the Devil. He then served the Devil, until he saw that the Devil feared the Sign of the Cross. He then decided to serve Christ, reasoning that Christ must be the strongest master of all. Offerus found a Christian hermit who instructed him in the faith, baptized him, and gave him a new name, Christopher, or “Christ-bearer.” From then on Christopher determined to serve Christ by using his great physical strength to assist travelers crossing a treacherous river. One day he helped a small child across the river; as Christopher carried the child he felt his burden becoming strangely heavy, as if the weight of the whole world was upon his shoulders. When he spoke of this, the child replied that Christopher carried not only the whole world, but also Him who made it. The child then revealed himself as Jesus Christ and announced that Christopher’s humble service was pleasing to Him, and worked a miracle by turning Christopher’s staff into a tree. Due to this miracle many converted to Christianity, which caused Christopher to be imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded for refusing to worship the pagan gods. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers.

Credit: Morning Offering, https://www.morningoffering.com

 

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Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450–1516), Saint Christopher (c 1490-1500), oil on oak panel, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Dear Saint, you have inherited a beautiful name – Christbearer – as a result of a wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all drivers who often transport those who bear Christ within them. Amen.

A prayer to Saint Christopher
For more about the historical validity of the Saint Christopher story, see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-christopher-fact-or-fiction/

 

saint-christopher-carrying-the-christ-child-mateo-cerezo
Saint Christopher carrying the Christ Child Painting by Mateo Cerezo

Saint Christopher, Christ-Bearer, Martyr, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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