( according to the Church Calendar)
1. THE PRIESTLY-MARTYR TIMOTHY, BISHOP OF BRUSSA
Because of Timothy's great spiritual purity, God granted him the gift of working miracles and he cured all diseases and afflictions of the people. During the reign of the wicked Emperor Julian, who denied Christ, Saint Timothy was cast into prison. Even in prison the faithful visited him in order to listen to the wise instruction of their arch-shepherd. Learning of this, Julian ordered and the executioner beheaded Timothy in prison in the year 362 A.D. His soul departed into Paradise and his relics remained miracle-working to help the people and to manifest the power of God.
2. THE HOLY MARTYRS ALEXANDER AND ANTONINA
Both Alexander and Antonina were from Alexandria. Antonina was an honorable virgin and Alexander an imperial soldier. They were both Christians. Antonina was first brought to trial and tortured. When they cast her into prison, Alexander, by the command of an angel of God, went to the prison (even though until now he did not know Antonina), covered her with his military mantel and said to her to lower her head and to pass through the guards before the gates. And so the virgin escaped and the soldier Alexander remained in prison. Then they brought Alexander before the judge and began to torture him for the Name of Christ. Hearing about this Antonina herself appeared before the judge who then subjected both of them to various tortures. He severed their hands, flogged their naked bodies, burned their wounds with candles and, finally, threw them into a fire which was started in a pit and covered them with dirt. They suffered honorably for the sake of the love of Christ and took up habitation in the mansions of the Heavenly King on May 3, 313 A.D. Festus, the evil judge, at the moment of the death of the martyrs, became dumb and an evil spirit seized and tormented him for seven days and killed him.
3. SAINT BASSIAN, THE BISHOP OF LODI
Bassian was born a pagan in Syracuse of prominent and wealthy pagan parents. He was educated in philosophy in Rome. By his earnest desire, he was baptized by the pious Elder Gordianus. This offended his parents and, to escape their wrath, and according to the command of Saint John the Theologian, who appeared to him, Bassian traveled to Ravenna and reported to Bishop Ursus, his kinsman. At the advice of the bishop, Bassian took up residence at the church of the Holy Martyr Apollinarius, outside the city. There he lived a long life of asceticism, of labor, of fasting and of prayer. When the bishop of the city of Lodi in Liguria died, Bassian was elected according to a revelation in a dream even though he did not desire it. He was consecrated bishop by Ambrose of Milan and Ursus of Ravenna. Bassian possessed the great gift of healing and could also resurrect the dead. Bassian was present at the final moments of Saint Ambrose and heard from his mouth how he sees the Lord Jesus Christ. Bassian lived in labor and asceticism to an old age and in the ninetieth year of his life died and was translated into the Kingdom of God about the year 409 A.D. Bassian's holy relics remained miracle-working to witness to the power of God and the greatness of God's saints.
HYMN OF PRAISE
Saint Bassian, loved the Lord,
Bassian holy, to the Lord prayed,
Upon him, the merciful Lord bestowed Grace,
What all men do, Bassian discerned,
How the demons dance the evil dance,
And how, men to evil, they incite.
Once Bassian through the town walked,
Saw a merchant, as he falsely weighs,
And on the scale, stands the devil black,
And crookedly weighs and wrongly counts,
To the merchant it is dear, that all men he deceives
And with a few goods, makes a lot of profit!
Bassian holy, toward the store walks:
To the merchant cried out: Open your eyes!
Because of easy gain, O do not be glad,
Open your eyes behold your partner!
In that the merchant, his eyes were opened,
Noticed the devil and fell backward,
Filled with fear, filled with trembling,
All gain he saw was cursed.
Began to sob bitterly and before the saint knelt
To Bassian he said: Pray for me.
Repent ye, Repent! Bassian instructs him,
That your soul eternally does not suffer,
To his accomplice the devil, the money he gives,
But he [the devil] his soul seeks in return.
It is not the same to eat your meal with a blessing and to eat it without a blessing. Every meal is the table of God, which God Himself has set for us. This is why it is necessary as a householder to thank God and to beg for His blessings. Blessed food is more tasty and more satisfying while unblessed food is untasty, unsatisfying and unhealthy. On one occasion, Emperor Theodosius the Younger went for a walk in the surroundings of Constantinople and seeing the hut of a monk stopped and visited. The elder asked the emperor would he desire something to eat? "I do," answered the emperor. The elder brought bread, oil, salt and water before the emperor. The emperor ate and drank and then asked the monk: "Do you know who I am?" "God knows who you are," replied the monk. "I am Emperor Theodosius." The monk bowed down before the emperor silently. The emperor said to him: "I am an emperor and am born of an emperor but, believe me, never in my life have I eaten so tastily as I have today with you." "And do you know why?" answered the elder. "Because," he continued, "we monks always prepare our food with prayer and blessing; it is from that, that bitter food for us is transformed into tasty; with you, however, food is prepared with much labor and you do not seek a blessing (from God) and because of that tasty food becomes tasteless."
To contemplate the miraculous healing of the man with a withered hand: "A man with a withered hand happened to be there and they put this question to Jesus, hoping to bring an accusation against him: 'Is it lawful to work a cure on the Sabbath?' " (St. Matthew 12:10):
1. How the Lord said to the man with the withered hand: Stretch out your hand! And he stretched it out;
2. How even my hands are withered when I do not give charity. The Lord continually speaks to me: Stretch out your hand!
About how that of which he is afraid, befalls the sinner
"The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; but the desire of the righteous shall be granted" (Proverbs 10:24).
The wicked one fears imminent death, the thief fears the burglar, the murderer fears the sword, the proud one fears shame, the abductor fears hunger, the glutton fears sickness and the slanderer fears the judgment of truth. That which the wicked one fears is what will befall him.
The righteous one desires a pure conscience, good thoughts, peace, charity, love, truth, justice and meekness. God gives these to him even while he is here on earth. The righteous one desires the Kingdom of God, desires Paradise, desires the company of the angels and the saints and desires to reflect upon the face of God in life eternal. God gives all these to him when He calls him to Himself.
O how just is the Lord toward the wicked one and how All-benevolent He is toward the righteous one! That which the wicked one fears, the Lord permits to befall him and that which the righteous ones fears the Lord removes from him. Of what is the righteous one afraid? Only sin. God removes sin from the righteous one and directs his feet on the path to virtue; and God protects the righteous one from evil spirits, the sowers of sin and, by His grace, waters the seed of virtues in his heart.
O All-seeing Lord, protect us from the paths of the wicked, from the gain of the wicked and from the fear of the wicked! Help our wavering heart to become steadfast in the desire for that which is only pleasing to You. For that which is pleasing to You will, in the end, conquer and reign and everything else will be given over to decay and forgetfulness.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.