March 15, 2018

Feast of San Longino Martire

Evviva San Longino!
March 15th is the Feast Day of San Longino (St. Longinus), the Holy Martyr. According to tradition, St. Longinus was a Roman centurion from Lanciano, Abruzzo, present at the Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Golgotha in Judea. In order to confirm Christ's death, Longinus pierced the side of Our Lord with his spear. Visually impaired from a wound he sustained in battle, Longinus miraculously had his eyesight restored when the blood and water of Christ spattered him in the face. Exclaiming "Truly, this was the son of God!" he converted and retired from the army. Taking instruction in the faith from the Apostles, Longinus became a monk and preached in Cappadocia. Arrested for profaning the gods, Longinus was brutally tortured and beheaded. Over the centuries, his lance, known as the Spear of Destiny, has been sought after by many conquerors as a weapon of great power. It is said, whoever possesses the sacred relic would be invincible in battle. 

To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Longinus. The accompanying photo of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's magnificent marble sculpture was taken during my 2007 pilgrimage to the shrine of San Longino inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
Prayer to St. Longinus
O St. Longinus, you crucified Our Lord out of unquestioning loyalty to a pagan empire. Yet, the blood of Christ opened your eyes to see the truth. You, who trembled in fear at the foot of the cross, and declared that “Truly, this was the Son of God,” pray with us now for that Sacred Heart you pierced. Pray with us now for the Body of Christ crucified today throughout the world. Implore Our Lord with us to touch the hearts of the persecutors, who act in perverse zeal and religious error to let the blood of these blessed martyrs open their eyes, just as Christ’s precious blood opened yours. May Our Lord lead them from these depraved acts toward a path of righteousness and deliver them from evil for the rest of their days. Amen.