St. Sebastian-Patron Saint Of Sports And A Highlighted Character In Fabiola-Martyred By His Emperor Twice Although A Great Patriot To The Empire

Nowhere have I read as good an account of St. Sebastian as in the novel, Fabiola. I read Fabiola my first year of high school. It is one of those novels where every action has a purpose and every word a deeper meaning.

In Fabiola, Cardinal Wiseman describes St. Sebastian as a perfect specimen of a noble-hearted youth, full of honour and generous thoughts; strong and brave, without an article of pride or display in him.

St. Sebastian’s life is shown as one of constant yearning after martyrdom. He sought out the position of the most danger as he strengthened the weak Christians on the threshold of their deaths and is heard in Fabiola to sigh: “How long, O Lord, how long?”

“We must picture to ourselves a young soldier, who tears himself away from all the ties of his home at Milan, because the persecution there was too tame, whereas at Rome it was at its fiercest.”

- From The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B.

The Two-Fold Crown Of Martyrdom Was Merited By St. Sebastian  By Facing Emperor Diocletian Not Once But Twice

St. Sebastian

St. Sebastian is at first executed by being shot with arrows. The emperor's anger is so fierce at finding a Christian within his inner circle that he commands that Sebastian's death be a long lingering one.

This opens a chance for Fabiola to save him because he is found to be still alive after his execution. Thinking that she is greatly assisting the man she most admires, she is happy to pay all costs to see to his recovery.

Cardinal Wiseman shares what Sebastian felt when he had recovered from his first martyrdom. 

To have yearned after martyrdom, to have prayed for it, to have suffered all its pangs, to have died in it as far as human consciousness went, to have lost sight of this world, and now to awaken in it again, no martyr, but an ordinary wayfaring man on probation, who might yet lose salvation—was surely a greater trial than martyrdom itself.

St. Sebastian feels as if his martyrdom is stolen from him or that he was cheated out of it.

We know of course that he bravely faced the emperor later and was cudgeled to death, therefore winning himself a double-martyrdom—He bore with him a double palm and received a twofold crown. -Wiseman

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A True Patriot, St. Sebastian Displays A Fantastic But Balanced Love Of His Nation

Saint Sebastian And Pancratius

One of St. Sebastian’s most outstanding virtues is his display of true patriotism.

He does not demonstrate this like a fanatic who feels a strong false love for his country, but he shows this in the perfect sense.

In my final year of high school, I made a major study of Catholic principles and common sense regarding government and citizenship

In one of the books, a short work by Frank Denke, a chapter defines patriotism as a love of one’s country.

This excerpt says that its purpose is to urge us to love, defend, and build upon the true, good and beautiful gifts that God has given our country.

How does St. Sebastian prove true patriotism for his country when that county’s heart is pagan Rome? How can he harbor a love or rise to defend a nation that is not good or beautiful?

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Although He Loves His Country, St. Sebastian Longs For The Establishment Of Christianity In Rome

St. Sebastian's martyrdom

In the first few chapters of Fabiola we meet Sebastian in conversation with another saint, Pancratius. Sebastian points to the triumphal arch of Titus and says, I cannot but believe that another arch will one day arise to commemorate no less a victory, over the second enemy of our religion, the heathen Roman Empire.

Pancratius is surprised by his comments of war and asks if Sebastian contemplates an overthrow of the empire as a means of establishing Christianity

Sebastian replies to the contrary. He says that if there ever was an invasion that he would willingly shed his blood in the defense of Rome but he was referring to a spiritual victory over the empire.

This conversation opens to the audience the duty of St. Sebastian’s earthly career: that of a soldier. To be strong and able to defend itself against its enemies, a nation must have not only military strength, but spiritual strength. -Denke

In St. Sebastian we see both these virtues perfectly well balanced in a single man.

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Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira writes: The glory of St. Sebastian is the glory of the warrior. It is the glory of the hero who exchanged the risk of the war to face the higher risk of the arena. He did so tranquilly and led many souls to Heaven; and finally, he became a martyr himself. We should ask St. Sebastian for the understanding of the moral profile of the Catholic hero.

I will leave you with a reflection taken from The Little Pictorial Lives of The Saints: 

“Your ordinary occupations will give you opprtunities of laboring for the faith. Ask help of St. Sebastian. We was not a priest or religious, but a soldier.

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#RebuildChristianArt Blog

An aid for families encouraging the reconstruction of the social fabric by sparking interest in Christian art and culture. Find beautiful novels, films, music, food and customs. 


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