Memorial of St. Denis

As the tradition goes, St. Denis, upon having his head lopped off by his persecutors, promptly picked up his severed member and ran for the hill of Montmartre, the whole while preaching a sermon on repentance. I assume it was for such level-headedness amid turmoil that he is the patron saint against frenzy.

One can forgive the hagiography of the third century for embellishing a few details about their heroes. If nothing else, it makes their stories difficult to forget. And a society in all-out decline, where threats lurked on every side, probably needed its stories to hold onto. And what better story to remember than that of a Christian bishop who spurned the esteem of men and the worldly success they promised, and who clung to the Lord and his promises. At the precise moment when the larger society was crumbling, seeds of new life were being planted in the ravaged soil.

October 9th, 2014