Prayer to St. Sebastian
Patron of Athletes
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor’s court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings—for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Sebastian
O Lord, grant us a spirit of strength. Taught by the glorious example of Your Martyr St. Sebastian, may we learn how to obey You rather than men.
Litany of St. Sebastian
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Christ hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us!
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us!
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us!
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us!
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!
After each invocation, recite: Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Queen of Martyrs.
Knight, noble by birth and fame.
Glorious warrior and martyr of Christ.
Patron and mirror of Christian soldiers.
Despiser of the world.
Conqueror of Satan.
Comfort of the dying.
Consoler of the afflicted.
Announcer of the word of God.
Protector and Patron of countries and cities.
Saint Sebastian, perfect in virtue and wisdom.
St. Sebastian, lover of God and men.
St. Sebastian, might in word and work.
St. Sebastian, who didst strengthen the Christians in torments and death.
St. Sebastian, who didst fortify those wavering in their faith.
St. Sebastian, who didst encourage the doubting to persevere to the end.
St. Sebastian, who, in flamed with love of God, didst despise the pains inflicted by the tyrant.
St. Sebastian, surrounded by celestial light.
St. Sebastian, instructed by the holy Angels.
St. Sebastian, giving speech to the dumb.
St. Sebastian, who for defending the truth wast wounded by arrows.
St. Sebastian, who wast put to death with clubs.
St. Sebastian, who wast crowned with eternal glory.
St. Sebastian, great intercessor for us with God.
St. Sebastian, endowed with power from God to avert pestilence and all contagious diseases.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us, O Lord!
Christ, hear us!
Christ, graciously hear us!
Let us pray. Mercifully look on our weakness, O almighty God. Since the weight of our own evil deeds bears us down, may the glorious intercession of Thy blessed martyr Sebastian be our protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth as one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
NOVENA TO ST. SEBASTIAN
At all times the Church has been exposed to the attacks of her enemies; ours are no exception. With saddening hearts we behold how under the impact of those attacks faith is weakening: the Church is losing ground. Catholics are listening to the pernicious doctrines of the world and unwittingly, perhaps, but most surely, are slipping over into the camp of the enemy and, worse still, are fighting against the Church and Christ. “Who is not with me, is against me.”
What we need in these “last times” are Christians of such intrepid faith, which we admire in our brethren of the early times. They laid down their lives for Christ and the Church, in testimony of the Truth. The Truth is Christ, the Truth is His doctrine, the Truth is His Church. For this Truth St. Sebastian died at a time when the Church was still in her infancy. His voice is heard still after almost 2000 years, exhorting us, his brethren in the faith. Live your life, we hear him say, as Christians among pagans, unyielding to the demands of the world, strong and steadfast in whatever kind of persecution; suffer for your faith derision and exclusion from society, loss of money or position, friendship or social enjoyment, if such be necessary to confess Christ in word and deed.
The Novena to St. Sebastian, therefore, should make of you a martyr, if not a martyr of blood, then a martyr in spirit, a fighter in and for God’s Kingdom in this world, a man living his holy faith. Whatever favour, besides, you wish to obtain from the glorious martyr, trustfully hope that he will concede it to you through his powerful intercession in heaven.
HOW TO MAKE THE NOVENA
It is advisable to make the Novena in the church, preferably in the morning; then you can attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion in honour of the Saint. The purer the heart and conscience are, the better we are prepared to receive favours from above. By all means receive the holy Sacraments on the last day of the Novena. Of course you may make the Novena at any place, in your home, i.e., if you can not go to church. First recite devoutly the Holy Rosary with the Litany; then read the Meditation for every day with application to practical life and say the prayer to the Saint adapted for this purpose.
First Day: The Gift of Faith
St. Sebastian lived in the early times of the holy church, when to be a Christian meant to stand up for your faith and eventually to die for it. However we know that he was born of Christian parents. So he passed the days of his childhood under the tutelage of pious parents, who cared for a thorough instruction in doctrine and training of young Sebastian. God had His own plans with the child, who was to become the strong support and guide of his fellow Christians during the turbulent times of the persecution to come, when he himself was privileged to die as martyr for Christ. But also for all times he was to serve to the Christian world as shining example of a fearless life by faith. God so willed it that as soldier in the Roman army he attracted the attention and good pleasure of the emperor and being of noble extraction he was raised to the rank of an officer in his palace guard.
Application: Centuries separate us from the Infant Church. The Lord Who watches over it has brought it up through the perilous times of many persecutions. It is a church of Martyrs as in the beginning, so now, and ore martyrs are being made today than ever before in history. We must, therefore, have the faith of the martyrs; like the Apostles we must rejoice to be made worthy to suffer for the name of Christ, at least a little disdain, or contempt, or even loss of temporal goods. As in the time of St. Sebastian, the masses around us do not love Christ, or do not love Him enough; some are even against Him, they hate Him. But the Lord is with us; that should suffice to make us confident and happy. Be grateful for the grace of holy faith.
Prayer: Holy Martyr, St. Sebastian, no greater gift could be vouchsafed you than the gift of holy faith. Sanctified in holy baptism you grew in holiness since the days of your childhood. So much has God loved you that He made you a pillar of strength in the early church. Strengthen also my faith, that it may become for me a source of energy for a perfect Christian life and that I too may be a shining example to my fellowman. Amen.
Closing Prayer: My Lord and Savour Jesus Christ see me humbly prostrate before Thee to implore Thy mercy. I am a wretched sinner who has lived hitherto in ease and wanton negligence of my Christian duties. How dangerously close have I been in the past to becoming a traitor to Thee! Pardon me, good and merciful Jesus. I will change my life: with ardent love I will adhere to Thee in future and prove myself worthy of being Thy disciple and follower of St. Sebastian. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. Litany of St. Sebastian.
Second Day: Live by Faith
When the Roman empire showed already signs of imminent dissolution, emperor Diocletian, thinking of how to stem the tide, resolved to exterminate the Christians, as he believed them to be the cause of ruin. It was one of the most savage and best planned persecutions which struck at all the social classes of the people; many of the noble families were dragged before the judges. Among others also Marcus and Marcelianus, friends of the emperor and of Sebastian were thrown into prison. Sebastian, deeply sorrowed visited them, comforting and encouraging them and their companions, all suffering for the faith, so much that they looked forward with joy for the day when they could suffer death “for the Name of Christ.” Our Lord, pleased by him and spoke to him the following words: “Sebastian, I came to tell you how much I am delighted for what you are doing to My beloved disciples; I promise to be with you always till you are united with Me in glory.” Greatly comforted Sebastian continued his work of mercy and led many to glorious martyrdom.
Application: Like Pius XI so now Pius XII is wearing himself out calling upon Catholics to be good Catholics. What’s wrong then with us? We are half-Catholics, too much emotional, too little instructed; not full members of the one and only apostolic and catholic, i.e. universal Church, set down on earth to unify and save the whole human race. We are private and fearful Catholics hugging the faith to our hearts and hiding it there. Faith must reveal itself to the outside, must benefit others, lift up and strengthen in faith those of our brethren who have become weak and deficient. Faith is nothing that could be hidden away, closed up within the heart. Our Christian life, therefore, must be a kind of martyrdom, unbloody though, but real, because day by day we are called to confess Christ. If St. Sebastian, if all the Saints were willing rather to die for their faith than to give it up, we at least must be willing to live our faith and confess it in private and public life.
Prayer: O glorious St. Sebastian, fearless Confessor of Christ and Consoler of those who were going to lay down their life in testimony for their faith: in shame and sorrow I must confess that in the past so many times I have failed to comply with my religious duties. It was Christ Whom I made suffer, instead of I suffering for Christ. I am resolved to do away with lukewarmness, I shall endeavour to give an example to those around me who deny Christ by shamefully neglecting their Christian obligations. Help me, dear Saint, and Patron to show them the way to the true joys of heaven. Amen.
Third Day: Faith, Your Greatest Treasure
With intrepid courage Sebastian preached the faith in the troubled times of persecution to Christians and pagans alike. Moved by the encouraging words of the staunch Christian soldier many pagans were converted and baptized, others, by the astounding miracles Sebastian performed before their eyes. Not alone that he cured their bodily ailments; he convinced them to be baptized, to become Christians and to live a good Catholic life. He had exposed himself and before long he was accused of being a Christian and was apprehended. The emperor would not believe when the news were broken to him. “Sebastian? that flawless officer and soldier; Sebastian who never has abused my confidence in him? he can not, he must not be a Christian. If however it were true, I would easily change his mind. . .” – “Yes, Lord,” the captain of the palace guard said, “it is true, I am a Christian” when confronting the emperor. “What evil do you find in it? What harm did it do to you? I always have been a Christian.” “Tell me,” the emperor responded, “I speak as a friend to a friend – what do you want me to do for you? Is it wealth, honour, higher rank and position? You have it; only relinquish that foolish faith in Christ.” Sebastian answered: “O Lord, what little and trifling thing you proffer; I am richer than you can make me; the greatest honour was bestowed upon me by being made a Christian.” Thereupon the emperor seeing his love spurned, raged in fury. He ordered him to be stripped of his insignia, degraded, thrown into prison, to be killed in shortest time, shot with arrows. Hearing these words Sebastian rejoiced, his face shining with inexpressible delight: he could die for Christ also. Eagerly he looked ahead for his martyrdom, which would unite him with Christ.
Application: How much do you love your holy faith? Do you teach the ignorant or the little ones? Do you lead back to faith those who have lost it or work on them, who do not live up to it? Do you sacrifice your leisure time, pleasure, company and social enjoyment to make Christ live and reign in the hearts of your fellowman? Do you sacrifice to make Him known, loved and served as Lord and King in the Christian home? This is Catholic Action enjoined by the Vicar of Christ on earth on all as a tribute for the unmerited grace of faith. Do not take that slightly.
Prayer: O St. Sebastian, thou strong Pillar of faith, to Countless pagans thou hast shown the way to Christ; the Christians, enlightened by Thy words, gladly sacrificed earthly life and all, that they may gain all and Life Eternal. Steadfastly Thou withstoodst the emperor and didst vanquish human wisdom in defence of Christian truth. Thou didst despise the pleasures and treasures of the world to gain the everlasting joys of heaven: obtain for me the grace that I may grow ever stronger in my faith and never put my trust in the fallacious things of the world. May I also be ready to sacrifice everything rather than to be separated from Christ in eternity. Amen.
Fourth Day: Faith Means to Suffer for Christ
Sebastian was marched off and out of the city by the soldiery to suffer the punishment decreed upon him by the emperor. He had made his choice for a greater Lord than Diocletian, to Whom he had sworn allegiance in baptism and for Whom he was going now to shed his blood. May the arrows fall upon him in showers; he would offer them his breast, his body, his heart, that beat fervently for Christ; may they open the blood-wells therein that the blood may stream forth freely, cover him with the garment of love, in which his beloved Master was clothed when nailed to the Cross. Horrified, the crowd witnessed the bloody spectacle, and like a flash of lightning it came upon them, it entered into their minds and heart: here stands a valiant soldier, who has better arms to wield, who fights his battle for victory; a hero whose head will wear the crown of glory.
Application: Martyrs have never been wanting in the church of Christ; they numbered thousands in the primitive church; they died by the thousands in the subsequent centuries; they die also in our times for Christ. The Martyr of Golgotha calls for followers. Do you possess that martyr-spirit, the marrow of Christian life? In St. Sebastian’s time, to be a Christian meant to give up for Christ’s sake all pagan pleasures and entertainments. On principle the Christians shunned the theatres, public baths, dances, amphitheatres, other pagan festivals, because they were incompatible with their faith in Christ Crucified. We are living again in a pagan world and Catholics seem to see no evil in the amusements of our days. They go to shows that slowly corrode the delicate innocence of a Christian soul; they attend bathing exhibitions and beauty contests; they frequent dancing places, social parties and other affairs of such kind, where the devil reaps his crop and Christ weeps over lost sheep. Would you call that dying with Christ on the cross? St. Sebastian would tell you a different story. “I renounce Satan, his works, his pomps.” You spoke these words. Do they have, still a meaning to you? Renounce, then, paganism of our days and associate with St. Sebastian and the martyrs of all times, bloody or unbloody. Be a martyr in spirit and action. Christ calls on you. He could die once without you, but now He can not live without You; living for Him, working for Him, sacrificing for Him, dying for Him you make Christ live in your life, you make Christ live in the world.
Prayer: Holy Martyr, St. Sebastian, great was thy love of Christ, when for His sake thou wouldst suffer and die. Obtain for me from Jesus, our Divine Victim Who offered His body an oblation for the salvation of our souls, pardon for my cowardice in the past, especially for the traitorous action of loving the world and running after its vile pleasures. May I also in all truthfulness be able to say with St. Paul: “I live; now not I, but Christ lives in me;” Christ poor and despised, Christ hated and persecuted, Christ suffering and crucified, may He live in me henceforth, as He has lived in thee, His holy Martyr. Amen.
Fifth Day: Faith, A Light Shining in Darkness
The executioners had done their gruesome work and left the place, leaving behind, tied to the tree the apparently lifeless body of their victim. But Sebastian wasn’t dead yet. In the dark of the night an angel descended and consoled the brave soldier of Christ, who again had gained consciousness. The angel told him how greatly the church would be honoured on account of his heroism and how many would embrace holy faith because of the example he had set in his martyrdom; he also announced to him the glorious reward he may expect from Christ Whom he has loved so much. Sebastian felt happy and thanked the Lord for this sweet visitation. Then the angel called out into the night to attract the attention of people living in the neighbourhood. A Christian lady, Irene by name, as if having waited for the signal hastened to snatch the body of the holy martyr, still alive. Hurriedly she cut the ropes with which the soldiers had tied the body to the trunk of the tree, wrapped her cloak around him and supporting him she managed to bring him to her house. There she tended his wounds and took good care of him till he was cured. Greatly moved by the story of the angel which Sebastian told to the lady, they both gave thanks to the Lord for the wonderful manifestation of love and mercy.
Application: The body is not only the dwelling of the soul but in holy baptism the Blessed Trinity has taken up their abode within. What the All-holy God thus has honoured and reverenced you can not, you must not vilify. Respect the temple of the Most High, and during all your life keep both body and soul in worshipful service of God. It is unchristian and draws God’s displeasure upon any one who indulges in such shows and exhibitions, in which, so to speak, the body is made an idol for worship, a modern Venus, or perhaps a golden calf. Beauty contests and Queen Contests are a cult of the flesh at the cost of the culture of the soul; the soul alone is worthwhile to cultivate; divorced from the animating spirit the body is but dust and ashes, an abominable thing, as it appears after the separation has been made in death. Indwelled by God thru grace in life it shall be honoured and glorified thru all eternity. Do not call yourself a Christian, if by your presence or active participation in such abominable practices, you subscribe to paganism in our days. You would not account with the company of Jesus and Mary at such shows? Would you? It’s time to make a clear-cut division line between truth and error, Christ and Belial, Christians and pagans, and to take your stand.
Prayer: O glorious St. Sebastian, Pride of holy Church: I praise the Lord Who has glorified thee, His holy Martyr, in order to corroborate the faith in the hearts of the Christians. From thy place of glory look down upon me, so weak and wavering in faith, that I rightly may fear to become a traitor to the cause of Christ, our Saviour. Pray to Jesus for me that I may walk with unbending strength of will on the path of genuine Christian teachings and never side the world in defending the principles of hell. Make me see in the light of faith the truth that makes man free. Help me cultivate to perfection the spiritual life with Christ and through Christ and in Christ here on earth and forever in heaven. Amen.
Sixth Day: Faith Teaches You How to Live Your Life
The emperor thought that Sebastian was dead. He rejoiced not little in the thought that he felled a strong pillar of the church of Christ. Imagine therefore his surprise and terror when one day, not long after, he stood before him, his erstwhile captain, his wounds perfectly healed and his body restored to health and vigour. “What,” he said, not fully trusting his eyes, “are you not Sebastian, whom I had ordered to be killed by arrows, for stubbornly adhering to that foolish Christian belief? How do you dare to appear before me now?” – “The Lord Jesus gave me back again the life which you tried to take from me, so that you be given fresh proof of the truth that there is but one Lord-God and that your gods are false and impotent,” said Sebastian. Hearing these words the emperor raged in anger and cried out to his soldiers: “Take this proud wretch, who dares to speak thus to me. Torture him, flog him, and kill him for sure.” – Sebastian answered: “Know, my lord, that your tortures will be welcome to me; they will not make me relinquish my faith and betray Christ Who loved me and freed me from the slavery of sin and Satan. I shall not stop to preach Him and would gladly give one thousand lives for Him, if I had them.”
Application: You will not have to give to Christ two lives nor shall you live for and with Christ twice. Therefore that life you have, that one you cherish, that one life which is so short: give it to Him, live it with Him unreservedly. A Christian is a man in whom Christ repeats His life, more or less perfectly, divinely, according to the permission granted to him to do so. And did it ever come to your mind what it means to refuse Him to live in you according to His pleasure, or to restrict Him in His freedom and disposition over you? To live twice would mean to undergo a test twice, to overcome the world, the flesh, the enemy of your soul once and again, when actually you had gone thru your task already. So it was with Sebastian, who had to suffer a second time the death of cruel martyrdom. Be once a martyr, a witness for Christ, by a life of renunciation and abnegation; be a witness for Christ by a real, true and good Catholic life. Do it well once for the love of HIM Who will be your reward exceedingly great.
Prayer: St. Sebastian, Martyr and Patron, fearlessly thou didst appear before the emperor who hated you so much; but thou didst love him and therefore wouldst try again to preach to him the truth about the Kingdom of God on earth, that he might see and believe and bend his knees in the worship of the one, true God. Refusing to listen he lost the eternal Kingdom which you gained in greater splendour and glory. Come to my aid in the confusing battles of opinions and man-made doctrines, that I may cling to Christ, my Lord and Saviour and defend the principles of His holy Gospel by living it till the last day of my life. I implore thee, holy Patron, to assist me in my last battle with the enemy that I may gain life everlasting in heavenly glory. Amen.
Seventh Day: The Greatness and Beauty of a Life by Faith
For a second time Sebastian was fastened to the trunk of the tree; for a second time, the executioners did their bloody work on the soldier-martyr. Aside from humiliations heaped upon the scion of a noble family and high ranking officer the torture was indescribable. With crude clubs they beat him, till pieces of flesh fell from the body. Then they shot him again with arrows. With astounding humility and patience Sebastian suffered this inhuman treatment, praying all the while for his torturers and for the victory of the cause of Christ. That Christ may live in the hearts of men, he offered Him his life. The Lord accepted the holocaust; He took the precious life of His martyr to make him live and reign forever with Him in heavenly glory.
Application: When a prospective Christian is presented for holy baptism, the priest asks him: “What dost thou ask of the church of God?” Answer: “Faith.” He continues questioning: “What does faith bestow upon thee?” Answer: “Life everlasting” i.e. Everlasting life through faith, or through a life on earth based on the principles that faith teaches us. The earthly life is but a dark shadow of the true life to follow; it is the price to be paid to gain the other life, the greater, the fuller life, the life without the alloy of earthly tress and scum, but of purest joy and happiness. That happiness for which you are made, for which you crave with the last fibre of your heart. Do not make the mistake of so many who run after the shadow, which they can not catch, when staking all their chances on the trump-card of earthly happiness. So “make use of the things of this world,” advises St. Paul, “as to pass through them unimpeded on your way to heaven.” That’s the reason why a good Christian’s life is an unbloody martyrdom, a continuous dying to oneself, that Christ may live in him. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” That was another question by the priest before he proceeded to baptize you. Do you believe that Jesus Christ wishes to repeat His life in you, He is the great meaning of it? Live with Christ henceforth, He and you like one. To be poor like HIM, mortified and crucified like Him. That’s the beauty and greatness of the life of a Christian: HE and YOU living together and walking together on the Via Crucis towards the gates of heaven.
Prayer: Holy Patron, St. Sebastian, for centuries thou livest with Christ in heavenly bliss and yet it is like starting only life in heaven. I rejoice in Thy unending glory and happiness. Compassionately look down upon me, thy miserable client, who must pass thru the excruciating years of trial in a world of temptations and allurements. When I look back upon my life I am confused by the many infidelities, my frequent failures, my breaking of baptismal vows and shameless forsaking of Christ, my Saviour. Holy Martyr, obtain pardon for my sins against my Christian vocation; for having lived carelessly, neglectfully even in my most essential obligations; having denied Christ to live in me, refused to be crucified with Him. Save me, good St. Sebastian from eternal death in hell and by Thy powerful intercession help me so to order my life that I may be found worthy of sharing with thee the unending joys of heaven. Amen.
Eight Day: A Life by Faith Bears Many Fruits
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians.” A mysterious word, as old as the church is. While living, Sebastian thru his words and miracles has led many to the fount of baptism and has fanned in the hearts of the confessors of Christ the desire to die for Him. The miracle of conversion to the true faith was still more multiplied after his death. The emperor learned of it and conscious of his impotence ordered that the corpse of the martyr be thrown into a foul-smelling pit, where the cadavers of dead animals were thrown, so as to prevent the Christians to pay their martyr reverence and respect. However, this base intention of the emperor was foiled, as the corpse, when being flung downward was caught by a protruding branch of a tree. The news of it was brought by Sebastian himself that very night to a pious lady, St. Lucina, whom he begged to go and fetch the body and bury it in the catacombs at the feet of the princes of the Apostles, Sts. Peter and Paul. On this spot was built later the church of St. Sebastian, where the relics of this martyr of Christ are kept till now.
Application: A seed-grain was Christ Himself, Who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. “Unless the grain is buried in the ground it can not bear fruit” He had said. The fruits: mankind redeemed, men saved for heaven. A seed-grain was Sebastian, shot, flogged, buried; the fruits: conversions, new Christians, better Christians in the times to come till now and till the end; Christians inspired and inflamed by his example, his intercession in heaven. A seed-grain every Christian must be; our life buried in Christ must produce new or better Christians around us, near and far. That are miracles performed by you and your Christian brother; yes, miracles are but a commonplace in Christian and catholic life. Why shouldn’t they be? Is it possible to imagine that Christ should live in us and nothing happen? We are transmitters, channels, instruments, Christ-bearers. If we are not that, we are nothing. If we are not communicating divine life to the world, we are not true Catholics; we are only second rate Catholics. Take this to heart; it’s always time to amend.
Prayer: Holy Martyr, St. Sebastian, glorified by the holy lives of so many whom thou hast inspired and animated to follow thee to martyrdom, I resolve today to follow and to undergo voluntarily the unbloody martyrdom of dying to myself, that Christ may live in me and in the souls of my brethren. Continue thy soul-saving and sanctifying apostolate from heaven and shield us against the many enemies that surround us, that the number of Christ-loving souls may increase. Keep us, O holy Martyr and powerful Protector, from pestilence and contagious diseases of body and soul, and prevent us from descending into the pit of burning fire and brimstone when the end comes; make us enjoy then with thee the glories of heaven. Amen.
Ninth Day: Fear God Alone, Not Men
Diocletian goes down in history as a great emperor; in the Kingdom of God he is a zero. But St. Sebastian is and remains in eternity a hero, whom God has crowned with glory. He is not dead and remembered only by name, as Diocletian is, but he lives in the Church, be lives in the hearts of the Christians who venerate him; to his honour churches and altars have been erected all over the world. Diocletian is a poor wretch who once believed he could stamp out the memory of Sebastian. God stood in the way of his pernicious plans and sided with Sebastian, His martyr, whom He honoured and crowned with glory.
Application: What is the power of man? the influence he wages over his fellowman? What is wealth that dazzles many? What honour or high position that make others tremble? A whiff in the air, a vapour blown by the slightest wind, smoke that defiles the air. And less even. Our Lord has pronounced His woe over those things because they stand in the way of salvation to many. It is indeed better to be rid of that earthly dross and to occupy our mind with them; use our time and talents for the problem of how “to carry away the Kingdom of heaven,” because as our Lord said, “it suffers violence.” A pious, godly life is the only reasonable life. The soul, God, eternity, must be moved every morning anew into the centre of our interest, to which the eye keeps fastened all day long, so that we be busy that day, and every day, seeking and acquiring the treasures, which “rust and moths do not consume and thieves do not steal.” They are saved, imperishable; we must possess them if we wish to be truly happy in this life and in eternity.
Prayer: St. Sebastian, holy Patron, in thy heavenly glory and joy forget us not, who carry on the incessant struggle against the enemies of holy faith, who endanger our salvation. Grant that I may adhere to God, my Lord, and to Jesus Christ with my whole heart. Obtain for me on this last day of the novena a holy fear of God, my Lord and King, that I may serve Him with perfect love, with submission and resignation to His most holy will. Free me from the fear and respect of men, who can not truly do harm to me, that I may never waver in the fulfilment of my obligations to God and my soul. Amen.