Homily for the Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
If there was ever a saint that we could get some inspiration from, I think St. Agnes would be at the very top of my list. Her story is one of great faith in Jesus, but also a story of a young girl who knew who she was as a beloved daughter of the Father.
She was born in Rome to a very wealthy Christian family. Because of that, her hand was sought quite a bit in marriage by high-ranking men and families throughout Rome. But at a young age, Agnes made a promise to God that she would remain pure for Him, she had been claimed by Christ and He would be her spouse for eternity. The men around Rome who were courting her and pursuing her were not very pleased that Agnes was refusing to marry.
Being a Christian during that time in Rome was not popular to say the least and many were being persecuted and killed simply for believing in Christ. Agnes would become one of those who were killed around the age of 12. There are a couple of different accounts of her martyrdom, but either one you read, she was basically paraded through the streets of Rome. Some say that she was dragged through the streets naked. When she finally arrived at the place where she was to be martyred, and as people were begging her to renounce her faith in order to be saved, Agnes is reported to have said: “I would offend my Spouse if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.
Agnes was very much aware of how God loved her and she wanted nothing more than to return that love back to Him. She wasn’t afraid of standing up for her faith, she wasn’t afraid to dying for her faith. She was more afraid of offending the Lord. All of these things were only possible because she knew Jesus Christ.
I really think that St. Agnes is one of the better saints for us to look up to. I think we are going to be entering some unprecedented times for our Church in this country very soon. And that is not a political statement. Looking at the culture in which we are living, respect for people of faith is eroding at an incredible pace. There may come a time in this land where people of faith are persecuted for practicing their love of the Lord. If our lives were demanded of us today, would we have the same courage to respond in the way that St. Agnes did? Hopefully our answer is yes to that. If not, let’s ask the Lord today for the grace to be able to get rid of any fear that fills our hearts and to give us the same courage and faith that Agnes possessed.