St Justin, Martyr: Missa “Narravérunt“
“We are slain with the sword, but we increase and multiply; the more we are persecuted and destroyed, the more are deaf to our numbers. As a vine, by being pruned and cut close, shoots forth new suckers, and bears a greater abundance of fruit; so is it with us.” – St. Justin Martyr
Born in Flavia Neapolis (in Palestinian Syria) around 100; conversion to Christianity around 130; martyred in Rome in the year 165, under Marcus Aurelius.
Saint Justin Martyr (as he is commonly referred to) is the best known 2nd century Father of the Church. He was born a pagan, in a pagan region of what is now the Middle East, and was well, if ecclectically, educated in philosophy.
An avid lover of truth, he sought it through different philosophical schools, none of which satisfied his thirst, even though he was moved by the moral discipline of the Stoics and inspired by the speculative power of the Platonists.
At around the age of 30 he happened to cross paths with an old man walking along the beach who questioned him about his beliefs and especially about the sufficiency of philosophy as a means of attaining truth. This old man introduced him to Revelation and argued that although philosophers could talk about God, the Prophets, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had experienced and known God and could bring others to Him.
Justin had always admired Christians from a distance because of the beauty of their moral lives. As he writes in his Apologies: “When I was a disciple of Plato, hearing the accusations made against the Christians and seeing them intrepid in the face of death and of all that men fear, I said to myself that it was impossible that they should be living in evil and in the love of pleasure.”
He had been persuaded of the superiority of the Christian creed over all other beliefs and philosophies, and seen this belief made manifest in the witness of Christians who “preferred truth to life.” Martyrdom was for him the highest proof of the truth of Christianity. Nobody, he said, died for the teaching of Socrates.
His his heart burned within him as he realized that he had finally found the Truth he had searched for all his life.
He became a Christian and a great apologist, engaging in debates and writing numerous works about the faith, most famously two apologetical treatises called “Apologies” and “Dialogue with Tryphon.”
Following his conversion he taught school in Ephesus and in Rome, where in 165 he was condemned to death with six companions, Chariton, Charito, Evelpostos, Pæon, Hierax, and Liberianos during the persecution of Marcus Aurelius.
INTROIT Psalm 118:85; 118:46;
The wicked have told me fables: but not as thy law. And I spoke of thy testimonies before kings: and I was not ashamed. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 118:1; Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The wicked have told me fables: but not as thy law. And I spoke of thy testimonies before kings: and I was not ashamed. Alleluia, alleluia.
O God, Who through the preaching of the Cross, which is to them that perish foolishness, didst wonderfully teach unto thy blessed martyr Justin the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus Our Lord, grant unto us at his prayers the grace to cast off all false teaching and ever to hold fast to the faith. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio pro Ss. Tiburtii, Valeriani et Maximi Mm.,
Almighty God, for Whom holy Tiburtius, Valerian, and Maximus uplifted their testimony, grant, we beseech Thee, unto all whosoever call the same to solemn memory, grace to imitate the example of their godly courage. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
LESSON 1 Cor 1:18-25; 1:30
Lesson from the first letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians: For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption.
1 Cor 3:19; 3:20 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain, alleluia. 1 Cor 1:19 I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject, alleluia, alleluia. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain, alleluia. Phil 3:8 Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; alleluia.
GOSPEL St. Luke 12:2-8
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known. For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops. And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. And I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.
1 Cor 2:2; For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Alleluia
Gratiously receive, O Lord, these our offerings thy wondrous mystery opf which thy holy martyr Justin resolutely defended against the calumnies of the ungodly. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio pro Ss. Tiburtii, Valeriani et Maximi Mm.
We beg, O lOrd, that the sacrifice we offer in memory of the birthday of thy holy Martyrs may losen the bonds of our sins and win for us the gist of thy mercy. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of Easter
It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, at all times to praise Thee, O Lord, but more gloriously especially this when Christ our Pasch was sacrificed. For He is the Lamb Who hath taken away the sins of the world: Who by dying hath destroyed our death: and by rising again hath restored us to life. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 63: 11
2 Tim 4:8; As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day Alleluia
Refreshed with the food of heaven, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord, that following the teaching of blessed Justin, thy martyr, we may ever be thankful for the gifts which we have received. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
Commemoratio pro Ss. Tiburtii, Valeriani et Maximi Mm.
Having taken our fill of thy sacred gift we humbly entreat thee, O Lord, that for the due service which we pay thee, we may enjoy an increase of thy saving grace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.