|St. George with Martyrs Maurus, Papianus, Domitilla, Nerus and Achilleus - Peter Paul Rubens|
Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers. Out of fear, they carried the cruel commands of the Emperor, until suddenly they gave up this way of life. They were converted to the Christian Faith and left behind them their shields and bloody arrows forever. St. Peter baptized these two new followers of Jesus, who were soon accused of being Christians. Nereus and Achilleus both professed their Faith and again, but they absolutely refused to sacrifice to the false gods of the Romans. For this, they were at last beheaded.
Domitilla was a rich Roman girl who had made up her mind to belong only to Jesus. The young man who had hoped to marry her was furious at her decision. He accused her of being a Christian, and she was put in prison. There she suffered much. When she still would not give up her Faith, she was burned to death.
Pancras was a fourteen-year-old boy who left his rich home to go to Rome. There he was baptized by the Pope himself. Not long after that, he was arrested for being a Christian, but he refused to give up his Faith. In fact, with all the courage of a hero, he offered his head to the executioner to be cut off.
These four young martyrs could have had all the pleasures money can buy. Yet they did not hesitate to give up the joys of the world in order to win the happiness of Heaven, which is much greater and lasts forever.
Let us often think of the happiness which is waiting for us in Heaven. This thought will make it easier to keep God’s law all the time.