Saints Sophia, Faith, Hope and Charity: Faith in Christ Makes Us Impervious
Let’s recall the details of the history of our saints. In the second century, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, the widowed patrician lady Sophia and her three daughters, aged twelve, ten and nine, were denounced as Christians and forced to appear before the Emperor. The Emperor Hadrian commanded the three girls to offer incense to the goddess Diana. The girls adamantly refused, professing their faith in Christ. They were then cooked on a gridiron, closed up in a hot oven, boiled in tar and finally beheaded. Their mother Sophia was forced to witness the torture of her children. She was then made to dig their graves and remain at the burial site without food or water until she died three days later.
The holy relics of all four of our saints remained in Rome until 777. In that year, Pope Adrian I gave the relics to the Benedictine abbot Saint Remigius, who took them back with him to his abbey in Eschau in Alsace. The church of the abbey still exists, and the relics continue to reside there to this day. Thousands of Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims continue to go every year to pray at the reliquary, and it continues to be a source of healing and grace for everyone who approaches the saints in faith.
The lives of Saint Sophia and her daughters call us to uncompromising devotion and dedication to Christ. There is nothing that we should not be prepared to give up for the sake of our Creator and Savior. We must firmly believe that our dedication to Christ and Him alone is a matter of eternal destiny.
At the same time, however, we should also note that faith like that of Saint Sophia and her daughters is also the strongest protection for us from every possible misfortune in the world. We plainly see how faith in Christ made Sophia and her daughters impervious to any real harm that their enemies tried to do to them. By giving themselves up to the Providence of God, the saints became stronger than the entire world’s forces put together. They roasted them on a gridiron, baked them in an oven and boiled them in tar, and yet, all of it was as if it were nothing. The saints knew that Christ was going to turn their sufferings into glory.
In the same way, faith in Christ can dispel our fears and change our negative emotions into the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In the face of trouble and adversity, instead of being dominated by fear, anger, resentment and depression, faith in Christ can transform those things into love, joy, peace and patience. Rather than suffering threatening our existence, with Christ, suffering becomes the environment where we can grow, bud and flower with new virtue.
In the Providence of God, the saints endured horrific sufferings, so that we, profiting from their example, can endure the comparatively minor sufferings of our lives, and yet blossom with the same virtues as they did. Let us make good resolutions to follow their examples in a variety of little ways. Saints Sophia, Faith, Hope and Charity, pray to God for us!