Monday, September 16, 2013

Of "Red Lines" and St. Cyrpian

Much ink has been spilled about the geopolitical situation and the establishment of "red-lines".  I'm not saying "red lines" don't have their place in geopolitics, but I find them to be an interesting contrast with one of the saints the Church remembers today.

"Red lines" typically mean "do ___________ and we will kill you"

but in the case of St. Cyrpian, he drew an opposite "red line"...he told a Roman Emperor "You will have to kill me before I worship your gods."

From the Proconsular Acts of the martyrdom of Saint Cyprian, Bishop:

"The governor said: "Our most venerable emperors have commanded you to perform the religious rites."

Bishop Cyprian replied: "I will not do so."

Galerius Maximus said: "Consider your position"

Cyrpian replied: "Follow your orders.  In such a just cause there is no need for deliberation."

The Galerius Maximus, after consulting with his council, reluctantly issued the following judgment: "You have long lived with your sacrilegious convictions, and you have gathered about yourself many others in a vicious conspiracy.  You have set yourself up as an enemy of the gods of Rome and our religious practices.  The pious and venerable emperors, the Augusti, Valerian, and Gallienus and Valerian the most noble of Caesars, have been unable to draw you back to the observance of their holy ceremonies.  You have been discovered as the author and leader of these heinous crimes, and will consequently be held forth as an example for all those who have followed you in your crime.  By your blood the law shall be confirmed."

Next he read the sentence from a tablet: "It is decided that Thascius Cyprian should die by the sword."

Cyprian responded: "Thanks be to God!"


Now that's a RED LINE!  I pray that I may have the strength to draw such lines in the sand as well - the strength to stand up to kinds and rulers and say

"I draw a line in the sand here.  You will have to kill me because I will never cross this line!"

St. Cyprian, pray for us!