St. Sebastian was an early Christian martyr of the third century. He was born in Gaul ( France ), and was educated in Milan. He became a soldier in the Roman army, and eventually served in the Praetorian Guard under Emperor Diocletian. When it was discovered Sebastian was a Christian, he was sentenced to be killed, but not by beheading or being thrown to beasts as many early Christians were. He was instead tied to a stake, shot with arrows, then, when they thought he was killed, left him for dead. But Sebastian was not dead. He was found by a Christian woman, who helped Sebastian to recover. When Diocletian discovered Sebastian was alive, he ordered that Sebastian be killed again. Sebastian died in 284 a martyr, clubbed to death. His body was then thrown into a sewer, but was recovered by a Christian woman, and his body was then buried in the catacombs. He is the patron of athletes and soldiers. He was also often invoked against the plague.
God, in the Epistle for today’s Mass in honor of St. Sebastian (and St. Fabian) St. Paul tells us what can happen when we have faith in You, but also what the martyrs suffered in order to be happy with You in Heaven. Help us, like St. Sebastian, to be able to suffer and die happily out of faith and love for You, knowing that our home is with You, and all the glory of the earth cannot compare to the beauty of Heaven. St. Sebastian, pray for us!
So that the Catholic reader may not be confused, the Saint’s feasts are taken from the traditional calendar, so if you follow the new calendar, this feast may not line up with the feast you may be celebrating today.
- Illustrated Lives of the Saints
- Douay Rheims Bible
- Roman Catholic Daily Missal