|Saint Pope Pontianus|
A Homily by Saint Augustine the Bishop
Today we keep holy day in anniversary of the triumph of the blessed Martyr Pontianus, concerning whom the Church biddeth us to rejoice at his glory, and to consider how we may follow in his footsteps. For if so be that we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him in glory. In his glorious contest we have two things chiefly to remember : the hardened cruelty of the tormentor, and the unconquered patience of the Martyr : the cruelty of the tormentor, that we may abhor it ; the patience of the Martyr, that we may imitate it. Hear what the Psalmist saith, complaining against sin ; Fret not thyself because of the ungodly, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass. But hear the teaching of the Apostle concerning the patience which is to be shewn against the ungodly : Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.
And so the patience of the blessed Martyr was crowned, and the spiteful ungodliness of the tormentor was given over to everlasting punishment. Christ’s glorious champion shrank not from the dungeon, for during his contest he looked forward to his reward. Like his Master, he bore reproach, endured mocking, and feared not the scourges. And as many sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ; for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Being uplifted above earthly things in the love inspired by this promise, and greatly moved by the pleasant foretaste of the heavenly sweetness, he could say with the Psalmist : Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee : my flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
|St.Augustine of Hippo|
Collect :Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : and keep us in thy continual protection, at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father Pontianus, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-Shepherd, through Jesus Christ our Lord.