|Give us the grace, Lord, to have|
the courage of St. Telemachus.
Would you be sitting in the "sky box" among the pampered and perfumed elite of Rome waiting to watch the "show" begin with excited anticipation?
Would you be in the crowd out for a day of bread and circuses to watch the "match" between the gladiators anticipating the second act when the Chrisitians faced the beasts?
Would you be among the Roman soldiers or those in charge of the animals "just doing their jobs" as they bring the prisoners into the arena and release the hungry animals?
Would you be among the Christians singing and praising God as they faced death?
Or would you be like the lone monk, Telemachus who arriving in a strange city, followed the crowd to the coliseum, and was so horrified when the gladiators began fighting that he leaped over the wall into the arena, stepped between them, and cried out three times, "In the name of Christ, forbear!" The outraged crowd stoned him to death.
But that wasn't the end of the story. The Roman Emperor Honorius (who wasn't present at the spectacle) was so impressed when told of the monk's actions that he put an end to the bloody games. Telemachus by his courage and martyrdom ended the inhuman and bloody practice of the Roman circus. He didn't plan it. He didn't organize a protest. He acted in the present moment to address a monumental evil. And he gave his live for it.
Where would you and I be in the coliseum in 404 A.D.? What would our actions be?
Where are we today in the modern three ring circus committing so many assaults against human life?