St. Sebastian

Friends in the Lord, today is the feast of St. Sebastian.
Sebastian was a solid Christian man and a soldier, and well-thought of by the Emperor, who made him Captain of the imperial guard. Now although it was illegal to be a Christian, Sebastian used his position to help persecuted Christians in prison, and by his efforts, he brought many to Christ.
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One important man, Chancellor Nicostratus, was very bull-headed, and told Sebastian that he would never become a Christian. Now Sebastian had sensed that the man’s wife, Zoe, was a woman of faith, so he turned to Zoe and asked, ‘why don’t you speak to your husband about the Lord? Tears began to role down her cheeks, and Sebastian wondered why she was crying; Nicostratus said, ‘Don’t you know anything, she is mute! She has never been able to speak a word.
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Sebastian therefore lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed, and turning to her he said, ‘Zoe, look at me.’ He made the sign of the cross on her lips and said: Zoe, do you believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ?’ And for the first time in her life, the woman spoke: ‘I do believe in Jesus, Our Lord!’ – Her first words.
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Hardly had she finished speaking when her husband knelt down and declared his faith. He too was won for Christ.
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Soon however, Sebastian was found out; summoned to appear before the Emperor he was told: ‘I have always considered you to be my best soldier, but all this time you have been acting against the gods. Sebastian said, I worship the True God who is in heaven, and pray to Christ for your salvation and the good of the Empire.
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‘Death!’ snarled the Emperor. ‘Death by arrows.’ He was tied to a post in the center of the camp with a thick rope. The archers were then told to shoot him full of arrows. One writer says: ‘they shot so many arrows into his body that he looked like a porcupine.’ But he was not quite dead.
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A woman named Irene brought Sebastian home, and cared for him in her own house. After his recovery, he went straightaway to the Emperor, and rebuked him for his wickedness. Enraged, the emperor ordered him beaten with clubs until he expired. His body was thrown into a sewer. Later, Sebastian appeared to a woman named Lucina, to show her where the body was, and asked that he be buried near the Apostles.
It was the year 288.
Many miracles soon occurred through his intercession.
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St. Sebastian is the patron saint of archers, police officers, soldiers, and athletes.

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