FELICITAS c.164 AD
A Christian widow at Rome along with her seven sons and the church that met in their home, were used of the Lord to convert many to Christ. Full of fury, the pagan priests raised complaint to the Emperor and caused them to be brought before Publius, the Roman judge.
At first, using flattery, fair words, and false promises, he attempted to persuade her to deny Christ. But seeing that this did not move her, these soon were turned to violent threats.
Felicitas simply replied, â€œI am neither moved by your flatteries and entreaties, nor am I intimidated by your threats; for I experience in my heart the working of the Holy Spirit, which gives me a living power, and prepares me for the conflict of suffering, to endure all that you may lay upon me, for the confession of my faith.â€?
Trying yet another devious means, he then attempted to persuade her by appealing to her womanly affections. â€œAt least have pity and a motherâ€™s compassion on your sons by telling them to escape your fate!â€?
To this she stated, â€œYour compassion is pure wickedness, and your admonition is nothing but cruelty, for, if my sons should sacrifice to the gods, they would not ransom their lives, but sell them to the hellish fiend, whose slaves in soul and body they would become, and be reserved by him in chains of darkness for everlasting fire.â€?
Then turning away from Publius, she exhorted her sons, â€œRemain steadfast in the faith, and in the confession of Christ. Behold, heaven is open before you; therefore fight valiantly for your souls and show that you are faithful in the love of Christ.â€?
While she spoke thus to her sons she was beaten repeatedly in the face with her tormentorsâ€™ fists, but even this did not silence her. Seeing that she would not deny the Lord Jesus, each of her sons were tortured and executed before her eyes; some by being whipped to death, others by beatings with rods, still others by being thrown off high places or beheaded. At last, this saintly soul was killed by the sword and joined her faithful sons in the everlasting arms of Jesus.
Stop and think: Who overcame in this conflict, Felicitas or Publius? [Rev.12:11].
SANCTUS c.172 AD
This dear brother, a deacon who ministered to the poor, was captured and tormented by the enemies of Christ. Red-hot copper plates were applied to all parts of his body until he was little more than one continuous wound from head to toe.
All along they constantly questioned him in order to obtain information to betray others. Though greatly afflicted he would simply say, â€œI am a Christian; that is my name, my parentage, and my country; indeed, I am altogether nothing else than a Christian.â€? Throughout all, he remained fearless and unmoved, for the fire upon his body was tempered by the heavenly comfort of Christ in his soul.
BLANDINA c.172 AD
Blandina, noble and godly, was released from her earthly body after having been made the public mocking sport of a pagan multitude for several days. Subjected to severe whippings, beatings, and being cut, carved, and torn with all manner of hooks, knives, and claws of iron, she was placed in their midst and commanded to deny Christ and swear to the gods.
Not only did she refuse, but openly reproved the folly of their idolatry which brought their fury to a climax. Blandina was then roasted over an open fire, bound in a net, and thrown to the wild bulls in their stadium as the crowd cheered. After being repeatedly tossed high into the air upon piercing horns, she thus was ushered into the glory of her Lord that she had so faithfully testified to.
Stop and think: To what extent should Mt.10:24-33 govern our actions?