Wednesday, December 29, 2010

St. Egwin -- December 30 – The Earth Swallowed Them Up!

St. Egwin -- 7th century, Mercia, England.

His pious parents made sure to baptize and confirm him soon after birth.   Early on, he " built a pleasant mansion for the Holy Ghost in his heart". 

He was ordained a priest and a bishop.  In this capacity, he  preached the word of God with great zeal, while growing in holiness and virtue. 

In particular, he worked to restore the tenets of Christian marriage and the notion of good and evil.  Many resisted his wise counsels.  They told the bishop slanders about him. 

As a result, the Pope summoned him to Rome to answer these charges.  In expiation for the sins of his calumniators,  he walked to Rome shackled with locked chains.  The key was thrown into the Avon River. 

Months later, St. Egwin arrived in Rome to the tolling of bells that tolled untouched.  A fisherman found the key to the saint's chains in a fish’s belly caught in the Tiber.  When the Pope heard this miracle, he knew St. Egwin was innocent.

Towards the end of his life, ever zealous to gain souls for Christ, St. Egwin travelled to a neighboring village called Alcester.  It was remarkable for its beauty and natural resources and was frequented by the royalty.  But the inhabitants were very wicked and steeped in vice. 

St. Egwin tried to win these souls for Heaven.  As he preached,  the evil people drowned him out with the noise of hammers and anvils.  St. Egwin left the city.  God judged it.  The earth opened up and swallowed the entire perverse generation.

At the end of his life, St. Egwin addressed those around him:

“I pray and beseech you, reverend and beloved sons, strive with all your might to keep and to do all that God has commanded." 

We must need this saintly advice.  By the life of St. Egwin, we see that God is merciful but also just to those who reject Him.

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