From the Pastor's Desk
July 23, 2017
My Dear Parishioners:
Among the most easily recognized of all Saints is St. Christopher, the patron of Travel. He has been invoked since the early middle ages for safety in traveling. In an age when there was no AAA or WAWA, cell phones, streetlights or sign posts or State police, traveling was a perilous undertaking. And yet in the ancient world people did travel. The ancient legend of Christopher is that a giant of a man named Offerius lived in central Asia Minor, now Turkey. He was of a mean disposition, put out of the Imperial Roman Army because of his disagreeable nature he attached himself to a traveling circus for a while as a string man. Having had an argument with the owner he was fired. Traveling around the countryside he came to a small river with a ferry operated by an old man. The old man told Offerius that he needed to stop work and would he like to take the ferry service over. Christopher liked the idea of being self employed and agreed. The old man was a Christian and would spend long afternoons telling Christopher about Christ. Christopher could not submit to a God who suffered the humiliating death of the Cross. For him it was a sign of weakness, not the strength he put such store by. Before the old man died he said he would pray that God would speak to Christopher and bring him to faith. After the old mans death Christopher came into his own, He was his own man. Christopher awoke early one morning to the voice of a Child, he asked that Christopher take him across the river. Christopher told him the fee, the Child had no money, but said he would give him a gift greater that gold when they got to the other side. The river being at a low ebb, and rather than untie the big ferry, the giant put the Child on his shoulders and waded across the water. As they got into the middle of the water the Child suddenly became so heavy that the giant began to sink into the mud, fearing for his life, Christopher began to panic, ’Have no fear, I will save you’, said the Child on his shoulder. Suddenly he became light as air and the giant was able to reach the other side in safety and with ease. Offerius asked what had happened. The Child told him that He was Jesus, the God whom the old man worshipped. His great weight was the sin that he bore for the salvation of the world. The Child told him to seek out the priest in the village and be Baptized and all would be clear to him, whereupon the Child vanished. Offerius was Baptized and was given the name Christopher, which is Greek for ’The Bearer of Christ’. He spent his life at the rivers edge ferrying people across the river and telling everyone his story and encouraging them to believe in Christ. Eventually he was arrested for being a Christian and suffered martyrdom around the year 260 ad. The story goes that 20 soldiers were sent to arrest him because they feared his great strength and legendary meanness, but He was completely converted and with humble and kindly meekness went along with no struggle. In his mock trial he called upon everyone to turn away from the false ways of sin and believe in Jesus Christ, the only hope of salvation. How we need Christopher’s today. You and I are called to be ‘Bearers of Christ’, witnessing by our words and deeds to the truth of Christ. Every journey we begin let us invoke this gentle Saint and pray that in coming or going, we may do all things in the name of Christ.
Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye, that no ill may come as I pass by.
Thou gavest life, may no act of mine mar that gift of Thine.
Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear my company from all evil and calamity.
Teach me to use my gifts for others need; Nor miss through love
of undue speed.
The beauty of the world; that thus I may with joy and courtesy go on my way.
St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, protect me, and lead me safely to my destiny.
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