Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin, Martyr

Luke 21:12-19 

Your endurance will win you your lives

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’

Apocalypse 15:1-4 

The victors sang the hymn of Moses and of the Lamb

What I, John, saw in heaven was a great and wonderful sign: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God. I seemed to see a glass lake suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God, and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb:

‘How great and wonderful are all your works,

Lord God Almighty;

just and true are all your ways,

King of nations.

Who would not revere and praise your name, O Lord?

You alone are holy,

and all the pagans will come and adore you

for the many acts of justice you have shown.’

Psalm 97(98):1-3,7-9 

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Sing a new song to the Lord

  for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm

  have brought salvation.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

The Lord has made known his salvation;

  has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love

  for the house of Israel.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;

  the world, and all its peoples.

Let the rivers clap their hands

  and the hills ring out their joy

  at the presence of the Lord.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

For the Lord comes,

  he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule the world with justice

  and the peoples with fairness.

How great and wonderful are all your works, Lord God almighty.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church’s ultimate trial

675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.


Catherine of Alexandria, or Katharine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Coptic: Ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ Ⲕⲁⲧⲧⲣⲓⲛ; Greek: ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνη ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς “Holy Catherine the Great Martyr”; Latin: Catharina Alexandrina), is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar who became a Christian around the age of 14, converted hundreds of people to Christianity and was martyred around the age of 18. More than 1,100 years after Catherine’s martyrdom, Joan of Arc identified her as one of the saints who appeared to and counselled her.

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as a Great Martyr and celebrates her feast day on 24 or 25 November, depending on the regional tradition. In Catholicism, Catherine is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and she is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 25 November. Her feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, but restored in 2002 as an optional memorial.

Some modern scholars consider that the legend of Catherine was probably based on the life and murder of the Greek philosopher Hypatia, with reversed roles of Christians and pagans.

Legend

According to the traditional narrative, Catherine was the daughter of Constus, the governor of Alexandria during the reign of the emperor Maximian (286–305). From a young age she devoted herself to study. A vision of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus persuaded her to become a Christian. When the persecutions began under Maxentius, she went to the emperor and rebuked him for his cruelty. The emperor summoned 50 of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine won the debate. Several of her adversaries, conquered by her eloquence, declared themselves Christians and were at once put to death.

Torture and martyrdom

Catherine was then scourged and imprisoned. She was scourged so cruelly and for so long that her whole body was covered with wounds, from which the blood flowed in streams. The spectators wept with pity, but Catherine stood with her eyes raised to heaven, without giving a sign of suffering or fear. Maxentius ordered her to be imprisoned without food, so she would starve to death. During the confinement, angels tended her wounds with salve. Catherine was fed daily by a dove from Heaven and Christ also visited her, encouraging her to fight bravely, and promised her the crown of everlasting glory.

During her imprisonment more than 200 people came to see her, including Maxentius’ wife, Valeria Maximilla; all converted to Christianity and were subsequently martyred. Twelve days later, when the dungeon was opened, a bright light and fragrant perfume filled it and Catherine came forth even more radiant and beautiful.

Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage. Catherine refused, declaring that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity.

The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on a spiked breaking wheel, but, at her touch, it shattered. Maxentius ordered her to be beheaded. Catherine herself ordered the execution to commence. A milk-like substance rather than blood flowed from her neck.

Veneration

In the 6th century, the Eastern Emperor Justinian had established what is now Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt (which is in fact dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ). Countless people make the pilgrimage to the Monastery to receive miracle healing from Catherine.

Source: Wikipedia