July 30 – Sts Abdon and Sennen
The decrees of Eternal Wisdom ordained that the West should be honored before the East with the glory of martyrdom. Yet when the hour had come, Jesus was to have, beyond the Tigris, millions of witnesses by no means inferior to their forerunners, astonishing heaven and earth by new forms of heroism. Impatient of the delay, two noble Persians won their palm on this day by the command of Rome. By shedding their blood they paid tribute for their native land to the eternal City; and now they protect our Latin Churches, and receive the prayers and praise of the West. France received a goodly portion of their sacred relics; and the city of Arles-sur-Tech, in Roussillon, can show to an incredulous generation the sarcophagus, from which flows a mysterious liquor, a symbol of the continual benefits bestowed on us by these holy martyrs.
|Abdon et Sennen Persæ, Decio imperatore accusati, quod corpora Christianorum, quæ inhumata projiciebantur, in suo prædio sepelissent, jussu imperatoris comprehenduntur, et diis jubentur sacrificare. Quod cum facere negligerent, et Jesum Christum Deum constantissime prædicarent: traditos in arctam custodiam, Roman postea rediens Decius victos duxit in triumpho. Qui cum in Urbe ad simulacra attracti essent, ea detestati conspuerunt. Quamobrem ursis ac leonibus objecti sunt: quos feræ non audebant attingere. Demum gladiis trucidati, colligatis predibus tracti sunt ante Solis simulacrum: quorum corpora clam inde asportata, Quirinus diaconus sepelivit in suis ædibus.||During the reign of Decius, two Persians, Abdon and Sennen, were accused of burying on their own estate the bodies of the Christians which had been exposed. By order of the Emperor they were apprehended and commanded to sacrifice to the gods. As they refused to obey, and moreover with the greatest constancy proclaimed Jesus Christ to be God, whey were placed in close confinement, and when later, Decius returned to Rome, they were led in chains in his triumphal march. They were dragged to the Roman idols, but to show their hatred of the demons, they spat upon them. Upon this they were exposed to the fury of lions and bears, but the beasts did not dare to touch them; at length they were put to death by the sword. Their bodies were dragged by the feet before the statue of the Sun, but they were secretly carried away and buried by Quirinus the deacon in his own house.|
Hearken to our earnest prayers, O blessed martyrs! May the faith at length triumph in that land of Persia whence so many flowers of martyrdom have been culled for heaven. Before the time appointed for the struggle to begin in your native land, ye went to meet death elsewhere, and thus ye gained a new fatherland whereon to bestow your love. Bless us, the fellow citizens of your choice, and bring us all to the eternal fatherland of all the children of God.
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)