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July 25

St Christopher - July 25

Saint Christopher

Martyr

(Unknown – 251)

“O child, how heavy thou art! It seems I bear the weight of the world on my shoulder.”

Saint Christopher

His Early Life

There is little known for certain about Christopher. He was born in Canaan on an unknown date. In some references, he was born as Offero and others say as Reprobus. Reprobus was a giant in stature and strength. Reprobus decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power.

Then Reprobus decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, Reprobus learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.

Learned from a Hermit

Reprobus found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings.  The hermit then began instructing the giant about God and the Redeemer, and concluded by saying: “He who would serve Christ must offer himself entirely to Him, and do and suffer everything for His sake. His reward for this will be immense and will last forever.” Reprobus now asked the hermit to allow him to remain, and to continue to instruct him. The hermit consented. When Reprobus was fully instructed, the hermit baptized him and gave him the name Christopher.

After his baptism, a great change came over Christopher. No longer proud of his great size and strength, Christopher became meek and humble. He asked the hermit to assign to him some task by which he might serve God, his master. Christopher stated “For, I can not pray and fast; therefore I must serve God in some other way.” The hermit led him to a broad and swift river nearby, and said: “Here build thyself a hut, and when wanderers wish to cross the river, carry them over for the love of Christ.” There was no bridge across the river. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength people had drowned. The hermit advised Christopher this would please Christ.

Carried a Child Across the River

One day, a child approached Christopher by the river. The child asked for Christopher’s help to cross the river. Christopher agreed. However, at midstream, the river rose higher and higher. Meanwhile, the child became heavier and heavier. “O child,” Christopher cried, “how heavy thou art! It seems I bear the weight of the world on my shoulder.” And the child replied, “Right thou art. Thou bearest not only the world, but the Creator of heaven and earth. I am Jesus Christ, thy King and Lord, and henceforth thou shalt be called Christophorus, that is, Christ-bearer. Arrived on yonder shore, plant thy staff in the ground, and in token of my power and might tomorrow it shall bear leaves and blossoms.”

And the child disappeared. On reaching the other shore, Christophorus stuck his staff into the ground, and behold, it budded forth leaves and blossoms. Then, kneeling, he promised the Lord to serve Him ever faithfully.
Christopher’s service at the stream led to his patronage of things related to travel and travellers, which is why St. Christopher’s medal can be found in many an automobile glove compartment.

Zealous Preacher Baptizing Many

Christopher kept his promise, and thenceforth became a zealous preacher of the Gospel, converting many to the Faith. On his missionary journeys, he came also to Lycia, where, after his first sermon, eighteen thousand heathens requested baptism.

When Emperor Decius heard of this, he sent a company of four hundred soldiers to capture Christopher. To these he preached so convincingly, that they all asked for baptism. Decius became enraged thereat and had him cast into prison.

At that time, Christopher was detained and ordered to offer a sacrifice to the emperor. When Christopher refused, it was decided to attempt to persuade him with money and women. Two women were sent to seduce him, but instead he converted them to Christianity.

His Death as a Martyr

Since Christopher could not be persuaded, Emperor Decius ordered him to be tortured in the most cruel manner, until he should deny the Faith. Christopher was scourged, placed on plates of hot iron, boiling oil was poured over and fire was lighted under him. When all these torments did not accomplish their purpose, the soldiers were ordered to shoot him with arrows. This, too, had no effect on Christopher. So, on July 25, 251, Christopher was beheaded in Lycia, Asia Minor (which is in modern day Turkey).

Born :                 Unknown Date in Canaan

Died:                   July 25, 251 in Lycia, Asia Minor (now modern day Turkey)

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          July 25

Patron Saint:     Against Epilepsy; Against Floods; Against Lightning; Against Storms; Against Sudden Death; Automobile Drivers; Bus Drivers; Cab Drivers; Motorists; Saint Kitts; Travellers

Source:

Reflection 

Saint Christopher’s journey from a worldly life to a life of service carrying travelers across the river demonstrates his compassion and selflessness.  After Saint Christopher carried a child who became increasingly heavy and revealed Himself as Christ, bearing the weight of the world’s sins. Christopher’s unwavering faith and willingness to carry the burden of Christ’s message is a reminder of the importance of trust and devotion in our own spiritual journeys and the transformative power of faith. His story reminds us that it’s never too late to change our path and align our lives with strong spiritual values that allow us to carry Christ’s message to others.

Have you experienced the transformative power of faith like Saint Christopher? It is never too late to pray for God’s grace and forgiveness to move our daily walk of life closer to Christ.

Prayers

Saint Christopher, patron of travelers and protector against sudden death, I call upon you today and ask for your assistance.

Intercede for me, as I embark on my journey. Protect me from accidents and harm, keep me safe and sound on the road.

Most compassionate and noble saint, guide me in making wise decisions, and help me to find my way in unfamiliar places. Be my constant companion on this journey, watching over me and guiding my steps.

I also pray that you would safeguard all those who are traveling with me, granting them your divine protection as well.

Holy Saint Christopher, I place my trust in your powerful intercession, knowing that with your assistance, I will reach my destination safely.

Saint Christopher, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – What we know about St. Christopher is everything we need to know: Here’s his story

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Christopher

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 25 July – Saint Christopher (Died c 251) Martyr

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. July 25 St. Christopher, Martyr

Catholic Exchange – Christopher: Still a Saint by Thomas Craughwell

CatholicSaints.Info – Legends of the Fourteen Holy Helpers – Saint Christophorus, Martyr

Independent Catholic News – St Christopher

New Advent – Mershman, F. (1908). St. Christopher. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of Saint Christopher the Christ bearer

Saints for Sinners – Saints for Sinners – Saint Christopher Patron of travelers Invoked for safe travel Feast Day: July 25

 

Video Link

St. Christopher – YouTube (Catholic Online)