|"The Martyrdom of Saint Januariusin|
the Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli"by Artemisia Gentileschi
Saint Januarius (San Gennaro in Italian) lived more than 1700 years ago. We don’t know much about him, other than it was hard to be a Christian in Italy back in those days because the emperor, Diocletion, was attacking anybody who believed in Christ. Januarius was a bishop, and he went to visit four men who had been put in prison because they were Christians. He was arrested, also, along with two helpers who were with him. All eight men were thrown to wild beasts, but the animals did not attack them. So, the soldiers killed them. Somebody kept a vial of Januarius’ blood as a relic. It dried up a long time ago, but every year on September 19 (and a couple other days) , it turns to liquid again. Scientists have tried to explain it, but nobody can.
People still crowd into the cathedral in Naples every year on September 19 for a glimpse of the liquefied blood. (You can watch a 1:29 video of the 2012 event here.) But we must remember that the Lord does a miracle for us at every Mass, when He turns the gifts of bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. It’s not a miracle we see with our eyes – it’s one that other people see in our lives as we are transformed by His grace every time we receive the Eucharist. Today, pray that God will enable people to see His grace in you every day of your life.