SS. FAUSTINUS AND JOVITA, MM.
A. D. 121.
FAUSTINUS and JOVITA were brothers, nobly born,
and zealous professors of the Christian religion, which they preached
without fear in their city of Brescia, while the bishop of that place
lay concealed during the persecution. The acts of their martyrdom
seeming of doubtful authority, all we can affirm with certainty of
them is, that their remarkable zeal excited the fury of the heathens
against them, and procured them a glorious death for their faith at
Brescia, in Lombardy, under the emperor Adrian. Julian, a heathen
lord, apprehended them; and the emperor himself passing through
Brescia, when neither threats nor torments could shake their
constancy commanded them to be beheaded. They seem to have suffered
about the year 121.1 The city of Brescia honors them as its chief
patrons, and possesses their relics. A very ancient church in that
city bears their name and all the martyrologies mention them.
The spirit of Christ is a spirit of martyrdom, at
least of mortification and penance. It is always the spirit of the
cross. The remains of the old man, of sin and of death, must be
extinguished, before one can be made heavenly by putting on
affections which are divine. What mortifies he senses and the flesh
gives life to the spirit, and what weakens and subdues the body
strengthens the soul. Hence the divine love infuses a spirit of
mortification, patience, obedience, humility, and meekness, with a
love of sufferings and contempt, in which consists the sweetness of
the cross. The more we share in the suffering life of Christ, the
greater share we inherit in his spirit, and in the fruit of his
death. To souls mortified to their sense and disengaged from earthly
things, God gives frequent foretastes of the sweetness of eternal
life, and the most ardent desires of possessing him in his glory.
This is the spirit of martyrdom, which entitles a Christian to a
happy resurrection and to the bliss of the life to come.