Tuesday, December 28, 2010

St. Demetrius of Sermium (2nd century)

"Anyone who does not believe in the Devil does not believe in the Gospel."     (Pope John Paul II)

   Just before my grandfather passed away in 1979, he told the family that he only wanted to be in the funeral parlor for the shortest time possible because it gave him the creeps. This was an educated man who was a registered architect.
  My grandfather was always afraid of the dead. So, to honor his wish, his wake was one night instead of two which was the tradition in those days.
  My grandmother would tell me stories about how she'd have to accompany him to the basement of the centuries-old house they lived in during the 1940s, when the boiler went out. And, once it was fixed, my grandfather would run upstairs and leave her behind.
  I've heard people say that if you're afraid, to make the Sign of the Cross and you'll be safe. As a child, we always had a crucifix in each bedroom and rosary beads had to be blessed before they could be brought into the house.
  Evil spirits or ghosts creep people out for a variety of reasons. I wouldn't want to see a ghost because I'd be afraid it would hurt me or the simple fact that it would be startling.
  But, many people fear seeing one because they think it means their own death is soon to follow. I recently read an account where one woman felt the ghost of her dead mother was keeping her from finding a husband. And, I have to draw the line at this one, but another woman was afraid she'd be impregnated by a ghost. (Could this be from watching "Rosemary's Baby" too many times?)
  Christians believe that evil spirits are fallen angels and the Roman Catholic Church says that angels and demons are real beings.
  We all have our own superstitions about evil spirits. And, back in 2nd century, people were no different.  That is when St. Demetrius of Sermium, the patron saint against evil spirits, lived. He was raised by rich Christian parents in Thessalonia.
  St. Demetrius of Sermium was a soldier and a deacon. Then, when it was discovered he was a Christian, he was imprisoned in a bathhouse (sounds like fun to me). Eventually, he was martyred.
  St. Demetrius of Sermium had a bit of a revival 300 years after his death when he appeared to soldiers during a battle in 586. His feast day is Oct. 8.

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