St. Januarius’ Blood

If you remember, last year we briefly discussed St. Januarius’ martyrdom during the persecution of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Naples—which means “New Town”—was actually an old city by then, in AD 305.

When they beheaded the bishop Januarius, a Christian woman preserved some of the blood in a vial. The church of Naples preserves that vial to this day, in the cathedral. The blood miraculously liquefies on the anniversary of Januarius’ martyrdom. Almost every year.

Not that we Christians would ever fall into superstitions about things like this… But it is true that in the years when St. Januarius’ blood failed to liquefy miraculously, some bad things happened.

Like the year when the blood failed to liquefy, and World War II started. Or three years later, when it failed to liquefy, and the Nazis occupied Italy. Or a few decades later, when the blood failed to liquefy, and Naples suffered an outbreak of cholera. Or a few years later, when the miracle didn’t happen, and there was an earthquake.

So I guess it shows that my heart partially remains in Italy: the first thing I did when I awoke this morning was to check the internet to make sure that St. Januarius blood liquefied in Naples, on schedule.

It did. We can all relax.

Seriously, though. We can do more than relax. We can lavish our love upon Jesus Christ, like the woman who anointed his feet with oil and wiped them with her hair.

St. Januarius imitated her by offering his very life for Christ. The annual miracle of Januarius’ blood is secondary. The main thing is that he shed it willingly for Jesus in the first place.


7 thoughts on “St. Januarius’ Blood

  1. I tend to believe in miracles, and I certainly trust this more then some well paid for sales projections I have been shown..,

  2. A reminder that death of the body is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Our souls (and bodies, eventually) are infinite and so is God’s love. The more we unite the two, the less attached we are to this mortal coil. Thank God for the wisdom and courage of the martyrs.

  3. I see no problem with believing this happens…simply reflect upon all of the marvelous and logic-defying occurrences related to the Catholic faith over history. Thankful it did liquify this year…our world is already in crisis in many ways…any good news is welcome.
    Judy R.

  4. I too was anxious to find out if the blood would liquify this September given the problems in our beloved Church.
    Thank God it did and tells me that everything will eventually be all right.
    We trust in you, Jesus. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

  5. Is it fair to characterize the saints in Heaven thusly: they are as pure as the Trinity with varying levels of holiness?

  6. May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields, And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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