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St. Agnes and subversive Christian women
Posted By Eric Sammons On January 21, 2010 @ 8:28 am In Saints | Comments Disabled
Today is the memorial of St. Agnes , virgin and martyr. We don’t know many details about her life, but she was so highly venerated in the early Church that her name appears in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) along with other women martyrs:
For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with…Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia…
Why were these women so venerated in the early Church? One reason is that by their lives they proclaimed the radical commitment which Christ places on our lives. In Roman culture, a woman was little better than a slave; she was expected to do whatever her husband asked of her (and she had no choice as to who her husband would be). These women, however, all placed Christ above any mortal man – they were willing to die for the Lord rather than submit to the false practices of others. This was a beautiful witness to the exclusivity of Christian discipleship.
But it was also subversive; the entire Roman society was based on strictly defined roles for each person. Christianity, however, proclaimed a radical call which superseded any cultural norms. Christians did not explicitly reject such norms, but when they came in conflict with their deeply-held convictions, then they refused to follow them, even to the point of death. This can be a great example to us today: we must be willing to follow the radical call of Christ in our lives, regardless of the cost or how subversive it might be.
St. Agnes, pray for us!
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 St. Agnes: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01214a.htm
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