October 7, 2017 - Tout 27, 1734
Martyrdom of St. Eustathius and his Two Sons
On this day was the martyrdom of St. Eustathius and his two sons. He was one of the ministers of the Roman Empire. At the beginning of his life, he did not know God, but he used to give alms and charity in abundance, and the Lord did not wish that his toil should be in vain. While he was in the desert hunting wild animals, there appeared to him the figure of a crossbetween the horns of a stag, and it reached up to heaven. He chased the stag in the mountains to hunt it, and the Lord spoke to him and told him about his new name which is Eustathius, for he had been called Ephlokidus before. The Lord ordered him to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Christ and told him that poverty should come upon him speedily. When he heard that he descended from the mountain and went to the bishop of the city who baptized him and his wfe and his sons, and he changed his name to Eustathius as the Lord had ordered him. Straightaway he lost all that he had as slaves, hand-maidens, cattle and money.
Then he took his wife and his sons, and went forth from the city of Rome and embarked on a ship. And as he could not pay the fare, they took his wife instead. He took his two sons and came to a river, he crossed over to the other side with one of them and returned to get the other, but he did not find him because a lion had taken him, then he went back to get the first but he did not find him either because a wolf had ceased him. He felt deep sorrow because of the loss of his wife and his two sons. St. Eustathius stayed for a period of time working as a guard in the garden until the Emperor of Rome died and another reigned instead who sent messengers to search for that saint. One of the messengers happened to enter the garden which the saint guarded. The two men recognized each other and St. Eustathius was taken back to the Emperor. teh Emperor honored him and returned to his former position. It happened in that time that war broke out and they recruited two men from every city to the army. The two sons of the saint were saved from the lion and the wolf by the Divine Will and were brought up in the same city. They remained for a long time not knowing each other. Then the Divine Will arranged that both would be recruited from that city. On one day while they were on their way, they reached a garden and sat there talking together. They then discovered that they were brothers.
As to their mother, the owner of the ship who had kept her in payment of the fare was a barbarian, but God protected her from him. And she stayed in a garden which by the Divine Will was the same garden as that her two sons had gathered in, and she was close by her sons while they were talking and she recognized them. The two sons were assigned to guard the treasury of their father who did not recognize them. When the Lord wished to gather this blessed family together, the wife entered the place where her husband was, and they recognized each other and rejoiced for reuniting unexpectedly. Then she told him that she hads met their sons in the garden. While she was telling him so, the two sons joined them and she cried joyfully, There are our two sons! They embraced each other in tears of joy, and they praised God who fulfilled what he had promised and they lived in joy and peace.
After that the Emperor died and another reigned who worshipped idols, and he summoned St. Eustathius and his wife and his sons. he ordered them to worship the idols but they refused so he ordered his men to torture them with fire, but they were not harmed. Then he commanded to cast them into a brazen cauldron and set fire under it and thus they delivered their souls into the hand of the Lord, and received the crowns of martyrdom from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May their prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.