A double saint-of-chastity day today. [Spanish]
One hundred sixteen years ago today, Maria Goretti died a martyr of chastity, before her twelfth birthday. She refused to give in to the sexual advances of a teenage boy. He threatened her life; she stood firm. He stabbed her to death. Maria Goretti made herself the young patroness of the #metoo movement over a century before Twitter got invented.
In our gospel reading at Mass, we hear the Lord call St. Matthew. Thanks to Matthew, we have “the Gospel of the Church,” a thorough compendium of Jesus Christ’s sayings and doings, written for readers already somewhat familiar with the Old Testament.
According to ancient Christian writings, St. Matthew wrote his gospel in the Holy Land, then set off to evangelize. He converted a pagan king, whose daughter Ephigenia made a vow of virginity to Christ.
A suitor then tried to persuade the princess to marry him. St. Matthew explained at Mass that Ephigenia had already committed herself. So the suitor killed St. Matthew in front of the altar.
There’s a little more… In AD 954, Christians brought St. Matthew’s remains to Salermo, in southern Italy, where they remain to this day. Your humble servant will visit the tomb next week. I will pray for you there!