Gaudeámus omnes in Dómino, diem festum celebrántes sub honóre beátæ Agathæ Vírginis et Martyris: de cuius passióne gaudent Angeli et colláudant Fílium Dei
Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea Regi.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating the feast in honor of blessed Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, for whose passion the angels rejoice and praise with one accord the Son of God.
My heart overflows with a goodly theme; as I sing my ode to the King.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Deus, qui inter cétera poténtiæ tuæ mirácula étiam in sexu frágili victóriam martýrii contulísti: concéde propítius; ut, qui beátæ Agathæ Vírginis et Mártyris tuæ natalítia cólimus, per eius ad te exémpla gradiámur.
O God, Who among other wonders of Your power have given the victory of martyrdom even to the gentler sex, graciously grant that we who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by following her example.
Súscipe, Dómine, múnera, quæ in beátæ Agathæ Vírginis et Mártyris tuæ sollemnitáte deférimus: cuius nos confídimus patrocínio liberári
Accept, O Lord, the gifts we bring on the feast of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, under whose patronage we hope to find salvation.
Auxiliéntur nobis, Dómine, sumpta mystéria: et, intercedénte beáta Agatha Vírgine et Mártyre tua, sempitérna protectióne conferment.
May the sacrament we have received help us, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, may it support us through Your everlasting protection.
February 5.—ST. AGATHA, Virgin, Martyr.
ST. AGATHA was born in Sicily, of rich and noble parents—a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for the love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. “O Jesus Christ!” she cried, as she set out on this dreaded journey, “all that I am is Thine; preserve me against the tyrant.”
And Our Lord did indeed preserve one who had given herself so utterly to Him. He kept her pure and undefiled while she was imprisoned for a whole month under charge of an evil woman. He gave her strength to reply to the offer of her life and safety, if she would but consent to sin, “Christ alone is my life and my salvation.” When Quintanus turned from passion to cruelty, and cut off her breasts, Our Lord sent the Prince of His apostles to heal her. And when, after she had been rolled naked upon potsherds, she asked that her torments might be ended, her Spouse heard her prayer and took her to Himself.
St. Agatha gave herself without reserve to Jesus Christ; she followed Him in virginal purity, and then looked to Him for protection. And down to this day Christ has shown His tender regard for the very body of St. Agatha. Again and again, during the eruptions of Mount Etna, the people of Catania have exposed her veil for public veneration, and found safety by this means; and in modern times, on opening the tomb in which her body lies waiting for the resurrection, they beheld the skin still entire, and felt the sweet fragrance which issued from this temple of the Holy Ghost.
Reflection.—Purity is a gift of God: we can gain it and preserve it only by care and diligence in avoiding all that may prove an incentive to sin.