Imagine you are a well-educated, 22-year-old of high standing. Your societal needs and wants could be met without question. Now imagine the love you have for your child; still breastfeeding, this young human is dependent upon you and your connection. This was the reality for Perpetua (feast day 7th March), a woman in ancient Carthage who had been freshly introduced to Christ. Her passion and understanding for the Lord ran deep.
When questioned by her Pagan father of the choice to follow Christ she said simply, “Father, do you see this vessel lying here to be a little pitcher or something else?”
“I see it to be so.” he responded.
“Can it be called by any other name than what it is?”
“No.” he replied.
“Neither can I call myself anything than what I am: a Christian.”
Soon after this Perpetua ran away with her child to continue her education for baptism. Perpetua and four other Christians were found and imprisoned. Felicity, an expectant mother of 8 months was among those with Perpetua. Felicity was fearful she would not be martyred with the rest but on her own after she had given birth. Imagine the community that had been cultivated to feel that there would be a disservice done if she did not receive her death sentence with the rest? Through every step of their journey they were mocked and belittled for their faith, yet they knew the Lord to be good. Their teacher volunteered to be imprisoned with them in order to keep teaching, knowing their imprisonment would lead to death by wild beasts or gladiators. While this seems a short and gruesome story of martyrdom, the commitment to the Lord’s call was the profound subject. These Christians exemplified endurance through the challenges they faced. Through the support of their community and perseverance through the Lord these humans found comfort and reason to continue down the path the they were called.
This account is from the year 203 A.D., Perpetua’s journal was kept by another Christian and shared with the masses to bring humanity and faith together. This situation was long ago but the minds eye can understand its depth. Consider Anne Frank, a young female whose words have influenced the world due to her faith and hardship. Think of the similarities between these young humans.
We are not all called to be martyrs and saints talked about by Christian academics for years to come, but we are called to trust in the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Trust in the Lord and seek God’s intentions to move through us. We are to others a sliver of the light of God, small actions are the ones that exemplify our commitment to the Lord.
My friends I ask you, what is it that you call yourself?
Madison McCabe, Parish Assistant