Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whose feast day do we celebrate today?

Today we have an All-Star in our Saint-A-Day line up. Representin' July 25th is Saint Christopher!! (A chorus of Yays please!) Many have seen the ubiquitous St. Christopher medal, particularly among travelers. This is because in the third century Christopher was said to have ferried the infant Jesus across a river.

Christopher is the patron saint of bachelors, bus drivers, ferryboat men, fruit dealers, police officers, skiers, soldiers, travelers, and truck drivers. Saint Christopher is invoked against nightmares, sudden death ('pray for me Saint Chri-ackkkkk!?), peril from water, peril from storms.

Here for your consideration is the story of Saint Christopher from my Saint-A-Day guide:
Christopher was a twenty-four foot tall giant from Palestine, a blacksmith's son obsessed with the desire to serve the most powerful king in the world. He joined the mercenary army of a tribal chieftain, but after he witnessed his master tremble before a wicked necromancer, Christopher resolved to follow the mighty Satan. Then the Devil cowered and fled from the crucifix worn by an ancient hermit, so Christopher bound himself in service to that holy old man, whose task it was to ferry travelers across a river. One stormy night a child (usually pictured as a baby) appeared and asked Christopher to carry him on his shoulders across the raging flood. During the crossing the child grew increasingly heavy, so that the giant barely reached the far shore. The "child" then revealed Himself as Christ and told Christopher (Greek for "Christ-bearer") that he had just borne the weight of the world on his shoulders. Christopher planted his staff by the side of the river, where it instantly became a palm tree, and set out on a career of preaching and brothel closing. Christopher's cult was strong throughout the Middle Ages, for it was believed that anyone who looked upon his image before noon would not die that day. His popularity declined the the so-called Enlightenment but has flourished in our own age of dangerous road and air travel; a Saint Christopher medal dangles from the rearview mirror of many an agnostic's automobile. In 1969 the doubtless mythical Christopher's Feast was expunged from the official Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, but Christopher remains the best known and probably most loved of all the Patron Saints.

If Christopher were alive today he would not be a saint, he would be a hero from the Ninth Ward.

1 comment:

Dr. Zaius said...

Are you kidding? He would be playing for the Celtics!

He would make an awsome twenty-four foot tall giant comic book character. I think Baby Jesus' special power to grow heavier might be kind of cool too! They should both be in the Justice League!