ST. ROMANUS, M.
HE was a soldier in Rome at the time of the
martyrdom of St. Laurence. Seeing the joy and constancy with which
that holy martyr suffered his torments, he was moved to embrace the
faith, and addressing himself to St. Laurence, was instructed and
baptized by him in prison. Confessing aloud what he had done, he was
arraigned, condemned, and beheaded, the day before the martyrdom of
St. Laurence. Thus he arrived at his crown before his guide and
master. The body of St. Romanus was first buried on the road to
Tibur, but his remains were translated to Lucca, where they are kept
under the high altar of a beautiful church which bears his name. St.
Romanus is mentioned on this day in the Antiphonary of St. Gregory,
and in ancient Martyrologies.
The example of the martyrs and other primitive
saints, by the powerful grace of God, had not less force in
converting infidels than the most evident miracles. St. Justin
observed to the heathens that many of them by living among
Christians, and seeing their virtue, if they did not embrace the
faith, at least were worked into a change of manners, were become
meek and affable, from being overbearing, violent, and passionate;
and by seeing the patience, constancy, and contempt of the world
which the Christians practised, had learned themselves some degree of
those virtues.1 Thus are we bound to glorify God by our lives, and
Christ commands that our good works shine before men. St. Clement of
Alexandria2 tells us that it was the usual saying of the apostle St.
Matthias, “the faithful sins if his neighbor sins.” Such
ought to be the zeal of every one to instruct and edify his neighbor
by word and example. But woe to us on whose hearts no edifying
examples or instructions, even of saints, make any impression! And
still a more dreadful woe to us who by our lukewarmness and
scandalous lives are to others an odor not of life, but of death, and
draw the reproaches of infidels on our holy religion and its divine