“We must stand bravely.” Ss. Juventius and Maximinus.
The essential truth and reality of Christian revelation are in no way dependent upon quantitativeness. The revelation of Christ Jesus, given once for all (cf. Jude 3), is itself the fullness of the Faith. It remains so, whether a vast multitude believes in it, or scantily few. At times the number of believers, throughout history, swells to encompass millions and then has receded to but several faithful persons. Truth remains whether or not it is “majority approved.”
Not long after St. Constantine legalized Christianity and the Roman empire began to undergo a process of Christianization, in 361 AD an emperor by the name of Julian came to power. He was a dedicated pagan and began a fierce policy of dechristianization. At this point many who had become Christians because it was a socially upward choice to make quickly reverted back to pagan ways. Christianity was no longer socially positive. The quantitative boarders of the Church began to shrink quickly.
Yet, this quantitative shrinking produced a qualitative surge. Such surges produce great spiritual energy and capital. Ss. Juventius and Maximinus were Christians in the Roman army under Emperor Julian the Apostate. They were jailed for their faith. While in jail imperial messengers informed them that many of their fellow “Christian” soldiers had denied Christ. They simply replied, “Then we must stand bravely, and offer ourselves as a sacrifice for their apostasy.” And sacrifice they did, they were subsequently beheaded.
As once again, through the vicissitudes of history, True Christianity finds itself on the “out,” we must determine to stand bravely in the Faith. Yet, moreover, to be willing to offer ourselves, in whatever form that may take, for the apostasy that surrounds us. May the Lord keep our hearts afire with His grace in times when the “love of many will grow cold” (cf. Matt. 24:12).
Ss. Juventius and Maximinus are celebrated on September 5/18th