August 11, 2021: SS. TIBURTIUS AND SUSANNA
August 11, 2021: COMMEMORATION OF SS. TIBURTIUS AND SUSANNA, VIRGIN, MARTYRS
For to them belongs the kingdom of heaven, who despising the life of this world have obtained the rewards of the kingdom, and washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.
May we always find comfort, O Lord, in the continual protection of thy holy martyrs, Tiburtius and Susanna; for we trust thou wilt not cease to regard those with an eye of mercy, whom thou favourest with such succours. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Laurence is followed to-day by the son of Chromatins, prefect of Rome, Tiburtius, who also suffered upon burning coals for the confession of his faith. Though forty years intervened between the two martyrdoms, it was the same Holy Spirit that animated these witnesses of Christ and suggested to them the same answer to their executioners. Tiburtius, walking upon the fire, cried out: “Learn that the God of the Christians is the only God, for these hot coals seem flowers to me.”
Equally near to the great Archdeacon stands an illustrious virgin, so bright herself as not to be eclipsed by him. A relative of both the Emperor Diocletian and the holy Pope Caius, Susanna, it is said, one day beheld the imperial crown at her feet. But she obtained a far greater nobility; for, by preferring the wreath of virginity, she won at the same time the palm of martyrdom.
Another account of St. Tiburtius.
Agrestius Chromatius was vicar to the prefect of Rome, and had condemned several martyrs in the reign of Carinus; and, in the first years of Dioclesian, St. Tranquillinus, being brought before him, assured him that having been afflicted with the gout, he had recovered a perfect state of health by being baptized. Chromatius was troubled with the same distemper, and being convinced by this miracle of the truth of the gospel, sent for Polycarp, the priest who had baptized Tranquillinus, and receiving the sacrament of baptism, was freed from that corporal infirmity, by which miracle God was pleased to give him a sensible emblem of the spiritual health which that holy laver conferred on his soul. From that time he harboured many Christians in his house, to shelter them from the persecution, and resigned his dignity, in which he was succeeded by one Fabian. Chromatius's son, Tiburtius, was ordained subdeacon, and was soon after betrayed to the persecutors, condemned by Fabian to many torments, and at length beheaded on the Lavican road, three miles from Rome, where a church was afterwards built. He is mentioned in several ancient Martyrologies with his father, Chromatius, who, retiring into the country, lived there, concealed, in the fervent practice of all Christian virtues.
Another account of St. Susanna.
She was nobly bora in Rome, and is said to have been niece to Pope Caius. Having made a vow of virginity, she refused to marry; on which account she was impeached as a Christian, and suffered with heroic constancy a cruel martyrdom. No genuine acts of her life are now extant: but she is commemorated in many ancient Martyrologies, and the famous church which is at present served by Cistercian monks, has borne her name ever since the fifth century, when it was one of the titles or parishes of Rome. St. Susanna suffered towards the beginning of Dioclesian's reign, about the year 295.
Sufferings were to the martyrs the most distinguishing mercy, extraordinary graces, and sources of the greatest crowns and glory. All afflictions which God sends are in like manner the greatest mercies and blessings; they are the most precious talents, to be improved by us to the increasing of our love and affection to God, and the exercise of the most heroic virtues of self-denial, patience, humility, resignation, and penance. They are also most useful and necessary to bring us to the knowledge of ourselves and our Creator, which we are too apt to forget without them. Wherefore, whatever crosses or calamities befal us, we must be prepared to bear them with a patient resignation to the divine will; we ought to learn from the martyrs to comfort ourselves, and to rejoice in them, as the greatest blessings. How base is our cowardice, and how criminal our folly, if, by neglecting to improve these advantageous talents of sickness, losses, and other afflictions, we make the most precious mercies our heaviest curse! By honouring the martyrs, we pronounce our own condemnation.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. IV, Dublin, Edition 1901;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Ss. Tiburtius and Susanna, pray for us.