Uncle Eddy's E-mails -- April 18
Saint Apollonius the Apologist,
(entered heaven around the year 185)
I have been thinking about you a lot lately. I much admire your gift of easy and lively conversation, which would be a welcome respite for me, doomed as I am to this inhuman solitary confinement (but as long as God wants me here, here I will gladly stay). I wonder how that gift of conversation is doing with a year of college under its belt. On those family picnics that you so delighted in while you were growing up, you used to be able to weave encouraging words about the faith and the Church into the most mundane conversations, to the delight of all. Do you find it easy to speak of such things to your college friends? Unless college has changed a lot, my guess is that you don´t. In seminar classes, in the cafeteria, in late night dorm discussions, it probably takes plenty of valor to put forth the Catholic view of things. If you sometimes feel hesitant to do so, even when your conscience is nudging you to be bold, say a quick prayer to St Apollonius the Apologist and draw courage from his example.
A respected member of the Roman senate, he converted to Christianity under the rule of the Emperor Commodus (the young emperor in the movie "Gladiator", remember?). Denounced as a Christian (being a Christian was still a capital crime then) by an envious slave, the Tribune put him on trial before the Senate himself. All his friends and peers and rivals were there before him, and they questioned him at length. He remained patient and courteous through it all, but cut no corners in his explanation of what he truly believed. One my favorite lines is his response to prefect´s query: "Are you then bent upon death?" He responded, "No, I enjoy life; but love of life does not make me afraid to die. There is nothing better than life – the life eternal, which gives immortality to the soul which has lived well here." Such calm assurance, such gentle but firm eloquence… If you trust in God as he did, your own testimony will be equally beautiful, although I hope you don’t have to pay for it as he did – with execution by decapitation.
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