January 24 – St. Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
Before giving thanks to God for the miraculous Conversion of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Church assembles us together for the Feast of his favourite Disciple. Timothy – the indefatigable companion of St. Paul – the friend to whom the great Apostle, a few days before shedding his blood for Christ, wrote his last Epistle – comes now to await his master’s arrival at the Crib of the Emmanuel. He there meets John the Beloved Disciple, together with whom he bore the anxieties attendant on the government of the Church of Ephesus; Stephen, too, and the other Martyrs, welcome him, for he, also, bears a Martyr’s palm in his hand. He presents to the august Mother of the Divine Babe the respectful homage of the Church of Ephesus, which Mary had sanctified by her presence, and which shares with the Church of Jerusalem the honour of having had Her as one of its number, who was not only, like the Apostles, the witness, but moreover, in her quality of Mother of God, the ineffable instrument of the salvation of mankind.
Let us now read, in the Office of the Church, the abridged account of the actions of this zealous disciple of the Apostles.
|Timotheus, Lystris in Lycaonia natus ex patre Gentili et matre Judæa, christianam colebat religionem, cum in ea loca venit Paulus Apostolus. Qui fama commotus quæ de Timothei sanctitate percrebuerat, ipsum adhibuit socium suæ peregrinationis: sed propter Judæos, qui se ad Christum converterant, scientes Timothei patrem esse Gentilem, eum circumcidit. Cum igitur ambo Ephesum venissent, ibi ordinatus est Episcopus ab Apostolo, ut eam Ecclesiam gubernaret.||Timothy ws born at Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Gentile, and his mother a Jewess. When the Apostle Paul came into those parts, Timothy was a follower of the Christian religion. The Apostle had heard much of his holy life, and was thereby induced to take him as the companion of his travels: but, on account of the Jews, who had become converts to the faith of Christ, and were aware that the father of Timothy was a Gentile, he administered to him the rite of circumcision. As soon as they arrived at Ephesus, the Apostle ordained him Bishop of that Church.|
|Ad quem Apostolus duas Epistolas scripsit, alteram Leodicea, alteram Roma: quibus in pastoralis officii cura confirmatus, cum sacrificium, quod uni Deo debetur, fieri dæmonum simulacris ferre non posset, populum Ephesinum Dianæ in ejus celebritate immolantem, ab illa impietate removere conatus, lapidibus obrutus est; ac pene mortuus a christianis ereptus, et in montem oppido vicinum delatus, nono kalendas Februarii obdormivit in Domino.||The Apostle addressed two of his Epistles to him—one from Laodicea, the other from Rome—to instruct him ow to discharge his pastoral office. He could endure to see sacrifice, which is due to God alone, offered to the idols of devils; and finding that the people of Ephesus were offering victims to Diana, on her festival, he strove to make them desist from their impious rites. But they, turning upon him, stoned him. The Christians could not deliver him from their hands, till he was more dead than alive. They carried him to a mountain not far from the town, and there, on the ninth of the Calends of February (January 24), he slept in the Lord.|
The Greek Church celebrates the memory of St. Timothy in her Menæa, from which we extract the following strophes.
|Die xxii Januarii|
|Deisapiens Timothee, torrentem ingressus es deliciarum, et divinitus hausisti gnosim, ferventes imitatus amatores Christi, cujus nunc lætanter adiisti gloriam, contemplans Trinitatem splendidissimam et pacem placidissimam.||O Timotheus! full of godly wisdom! thou didst enter into the torrent of delights, and drink in of the mysterious knowledge, imitating the fervent lovers of Christ, into whose glory thou hast now joyfully gone, contemplating the infinitely resplendent Trinity, and most tranquil peace.|
|Deisapiens Trinothee, frequentibus corporis debilitatibus et infirmitatibus corroboratus secundum mentem, erroris potentiam facile dissolvisti, Christi custodiatus potestate, et prædicasti sublimiter divinissimum pacis nobis Evangelium.||O Timotheus! full of godly wisdom! thy frequent weaknesses and ailments of body gave thee strength of spirit; thou didst readily reduce to nought the power of error, for thou wast guarded by the power of Christ, and sublimely didst thou preach to us the most divine Gospel of peace.|
|Mundi fines tua nunc decantant miracula, Thaumaturge immortalis; miraculis etenim te Christus remunerans adornavit, propter ipsum tormenta perpessum, et pro morte tolerata immortali gloria et beatudine donavit.||The furthermost ends of the earth now sing thy miracles, Immortal Thaumaturgus! for Christ rewarding thee, adorned thee with the gift of miracles, because thou didst suffer torments for his sake; and he gave thee, for the death thou didst endure, glory and blessedness everlasting.|
|Effusa est, omnisancte, abundanter gratia e labiis tuis, et flumina dogmatum scaturire fecit Christi Ecclesiam irrigantia et centuplicem ferentia fructum, o Timothee, Christi præco, divine Apostole.||Most holy Saint! grace flowed in plenty from thy lips, and made the streams of dogma water the Church of Christ, and yield fruit a hundredfold. O Timotheus! thou herald of Christ! thou Apostle of God!|
|Mortificans tuæ membra carnis Verbo subjecisti; dans pejoris, beate Timothee, regimen meliori, passionibus dominatus es, et animam alleviasti, Pauli documentis harmonice ordinatus.||Mortifying thy flesh, thou didst subject it to the Word: and making what is superior govern that which is inferior, O blessed Timotheus! thou didst master thy passions, and unburden thy soul, and the harmony was established in thee which was taught by blessed Paul.|
|Fulgurans quasi sol Paulus te misit quasi radium splendidum terram abundantiori lumine illuminantem lucidissime, Theophantes Timothee, ad directionem nostram et confirmationem.||He, Paul, brilliant as the sun, sent thee forth as a shining ray, that thou mightest most brightly illumine the earth with a rich abundance of light, unto our direction and encouragement, O Timotheus, thou revealer of God!|
|Currus Dei apparuisti, Timothee, portans divinum nomen, ante impios tyrannos, Deograte, non timens istorum crudelitatem; tu enim invincibilem Salvatoris fortitudinem induisti.||O Timotheus! as a chariot of God, thou didst carry his divine name before impious tyrants, fearing not their cruelty, O thou beloved of God! for thou hadst clad thyself with Jesus’ invincible strength.|
|Coronam gloriosam recepisti, Timothee omnibeate, divina mente prædite, Apostole, et diadema regni præcinxisti, et astisti ante thronum magistri tui, cum Paulo decoratus in æternis tabernaculis, beatissime.||O most blessed Timotheus! O divinely gifted mind! O Apostle! thou hast received a glorious crown; thy brow has been girt with the diadem of the kingdom; and thou hast stood before the throne of thy Master, beautiful in glory, together with Paul, in the eternal tabernacles, O most blessed one!|
In thee, holy Pontiff! we honour one of the disciples of the Apostles – one of the links which connect us immediately with Christ. Thou appearest to us all illumined by thy intercourse with Paul the great Doctor of the Gentiles. Another of his disciples, Dionysius the Areopagite, made thee the confidant of his sublime contemplations on the Divine Names; but, now, bathed in light eternal, thou thyself art contemplating the Sun of Justice, in the face-to-face vision. Intercede for us, who enjoy but a glimpse of his beauty through the veil of his humiliations, that we may so love him, as to merit to see him, one day, in his glory. In order to lessen the pressure of the corruptible body, which weigheth down the soul, (Wisdom 9:15) thou didst subject thy outward man to so rigorous a penance, that St. Paul exhorted thee to moderate it: do thou assist us in our endeavours to reduce our flesh to obedience to the spirit. The Church reads without ceasing the counsels, which the Apostle gave to thee, and to all Pastors through thee, for the election and the conduct of the clergy: Pray that the Church may be blessed with Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, endowed with all those qualifications, which he requires from the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Lastly, we beseech thee, who didst ascend to heaven decked with the aureola of martyrdom: encourage us who are also soldiers of Christ, that we may throw aside our cowardice, and win that kingdom, where our Emmanuel welcomes and crowns his elect for all eternity.
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)