It is all because of holiness.
The Holy Martyr Jacinthus (Hyacinth), a native of Caesarea Cappadocia, grew up in a Christian family. The Roman emperor Trajan made him his "cubicularius" (bed-chamberlain).
Once during the time of a pagan festival the emperor Trajan was feasting in a pagan-temple together with his companions, eating of the idol-offered food, but the youth Jacinthus, having remained at the palace, shut himself up in a small room and prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the servants overheard the words of prayer. He made a denunciation to the emperor, that Jacinthus, entrusted with an imperial position, did not honour the Roman gods but was secretly praying to Christ.
They immediately arrested Saint Jacinthus and led him to Trajan. The emperor demanded that he eat of the idol-offered meat, but the saint bravely refused and declared himself a Christian. By order of Trajan, they locked up the holy martyr in prison after fierce tortures, and they exhausted him with hunger and thirst, so as to force him to eat of idolatrous food. On the 38th day, one of the guards, bringing the idol-offering meat, saw Angels alongside the martyr, dressing him in bright attire and placing on his head a crown.
I read the lives of the Saints to inspire me and to show what I am not and what I should be. Who cannot be inspired by the super-human bravery of a TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY?
When I read the lives of the Saints, I often have a “question” in my mind – how could a person do such a thing – have such bravery, endurance, humility, chastity, etc? The answer is always the same – holiness. Or more properly, the ABSOLUTE, UNCOMPROMISING pursuit of holiness.
Would I have the courage to pray secretly when I knew being discovered would mean a terrible (in earthly terms) death? Yes, if I had faith and was holy.
Would I endure in my faith when spending long periods of absolute solitude and starvation in between periods of torture? It would be very easy to stop the tortures, and I think, impossible no to unless there was the great grace of holiness in my soul.
Hyacinth clearly was holy. He had a secular job with many duties, but somehow he was able to fulfill his absolute destiny which we also have – to become holy.
We are distracted, lazy, and poor at prayer, pampered. May God, through the prayers of holy Hyacinth the martyrs save us
Troparion of St Hyacinth Tone 4
With rays of grace thou dost shine to the ends of the world,/ like a hyacinth in Christ's Church, O blessed Hyacinth;/ for thy confession of the Faith was radiant;/ and in thy contest thou didst follow Christ the Word./ Thou dost ever illumine those who honour thee.
Kontakion of St Hyacinth Tone 4
Come O you faithful, plait a crown of unfading hyacinths today/ for the Martyr Hyacinth, and let us cry to him:/ Rejoice, O Hyacinth, glory of the martyrs.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2011. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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