Today is the feast of St. George, he was martyred (beheaded) somewhere around 303 A.D. at Diospolis in Palestine. His feast day is celebrated today in both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He was a Christian knight and is known for slaying a dragon with his lance. He is known to be the Patron of Military Personnel and the Protector of England. It is not really known how he became England’s protector but there are a variety of stories. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the feast of St. George was an obligation for Catholics in England. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed him as the Protector of the Kingdom. Prayers and Novenas to St. George can be found here.
St. George is there to remind us that we are all soldiers for Christ. When a person receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, he is fully initiated into the Catholic Church. The Latin word, sacramentum, comes from the initiation oath of soldiers into the Roman Army. The sacraments, particularly, the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist, initiate us into the Catholic Church. Before Vatican II, when individuals were confirmed, they received a small “slap” on the cheek reminding them they are soldiers who are now ready for spiritual warfare.
In his Letter to the Ephesians 6:10-18, St. Paul states, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…”
On a side note – Happy Name Day to Pope Francis! His name Jorge is Spanish for George. Hip Hip Jorge!
Almighty God, who gave to your servant George boldness to Confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.