Today, the Church venerates two martyrs from the third century: Pope St. Cornelius (?+253) and Bishop St. Cyprian (circa 200+258). Each worked tirelessly to preserve unity in the Catholic Church, something that was threatened by rebels of their time. St. Cyprian wrote, "You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother."
Pope Cornelius, in Rome, suffered martyrdom at the hands of heretics. Approximately five years later, Bishop Cyprian, in Carthage, was martyred as he was trying to rein in heretics in his area. Both were men of strong faith and firm will. Cornelius taught that the Church has authority to grant forgiveness even to heretics, provided that they are repentant. Cyprian was arrested for refusing to take part in pagan rituals and was beheaded. Through their martyrdom, each demonstrated faith, hope and love. May we honor them today and beyond by living a life that demonstrates the greatest of these--love.
- Fr. Martin Pable, O.F.M. Cap.
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