Justin the Martyr

Saint Justin, who is called the ‘martyr’, was a pagan convert to Christianity, based in large part upon his investigation of the rational arguments in support of the ‘one, true faith’. He adopted the life of an itinerant teacher, eventually starting a school in Rome, writing much, but what survives are two dialogues and an ‘apology’; hence is called the first of the ‘apologists’, those who made a reasoned defense of the faith, as Saint Peter exhorted us to do (1 Pet 3:15).

After a dispute with the cynic philosopher Crescens, Saint Justin was denounced, and beheaded in 165 A.D.., under the persecution of the Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius (one’s philosophy, which is ultimately one’s religion, meant a lot to people in those days, as well it should).

The contemprorary account of Justin’s trial and  martyrdom makes for some visceral reading, to witness for the truth. Contrary to the ambiguous message of works like Silence, Saint Justin declared that he had no need to deliberate regardless of what inducements they offered, and that he would never give up his faith. He knew that philosophy has its limits, and that the faith is more certain than any human science. Justin ‘losing his head’ seems an apt metaphor for our giving all, even our very minds, to Christ.

So have confidence, be of good cheer, and be not seduced by the world and its arguments. For like its form, they too are passing away, but the truth abides forever.

Saint Justin, ora pro nobis!

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