14 March – Saint of the Day

Saint of the day

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03-14

March 14

 St. Maximilian

 (d. 295)

We have an early, precious, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in modern-day Algeria.

Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, “I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian.”

Dion replied: “You must serve or die.”

Maximilian: “I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian.”

Dion: “There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius.”

Maximilian: “That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve.”

Dion: “But what harm do soldiers do?”

Maximilian: “You know well enough.”

Dion: “If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army.”

Maximilian: “I shall not die. If I go from this earth my soul will live with Christ my Lord.”

Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.

 

Comment:

Rome’s draft board made no provision for conscientious objectors. Maximilian, wise beyond his years, looked beyond his conquering nation’s pride and saw the horror war inflicted on innocent people. He chose death rather than take an active part in it. Compulsory military service presents few problems to us, but national pride does. Like this martyr, we need to take a hard look at how well our country’s policies serve the rest of the world and act accordingly.

Produced by the Franciscans and St. Anthony Messenger Press (www.franciscanradio.org)

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