Monday, September 26, 2005

On the Strength of Christian Women

The other day I watched a documentary on the Catholic TV channel (EWTN) about the persecutions of Christians in ancient Rome. I will spare you the details of the various tortures which were practically beyond our imagination. I am also skipping over the fact that to avoid torture all one had to do was to renounce Christ and pray to the pagan Roman gods. I am also skipping over the fact that many of the martyrs were women. But, what I also felt very strongly moved by and deserves note was something else. Rome had a central sewer system which emptied into the various rivers. After the Romans killed a Christian, they dumped the dead, dismembered, burnt and disfigured bodies into the sewer system. Every morning, Christian women in Rome would gather where the sewers emptied into the river. They would reclaim the bodies of the dead, wash their bodies, and bury them in the catacombs. Can you imagine the strength of character, the faith, the belief in Christ, to have the fortitude to do even this? The documentary did not mention any men doing this, only the women! And that there were so many women who did his! Interestingly, one of the ancient Roman sewers ducts is still there. One can stand on the bank of the river where those Christian women stood, pulling the corpses of saints out of the sewage. For me the entire documentary was a VERY powerful meditation on Christian faith. There is nothing like the example of others to bolster one’s own faith.

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