1 August – Holy Maccabees! “like an unfurling of their souls in a battle line”
I am sure you already know that today, in the new, Ordinary Form, calendar, is the feast of St. Alphonsus Maria de’Liguori, the Bishop and Doctor of the Church so famous for his contributions to moral theology.
However, in the traditional roman calendar today is the Feast of the Seven Holy Maccabee brothers. They are listed in the Martyrologium Romanum. Here is their entry:
2. Commemoratio passionis sanctorum septem fratrum martyrum, qui Antiochiae in Syria, sub Antiocho Epiphane rege, propter legem Domini invicta fide servatam, morti crudeliter traditi sunt cum matre sua, in singulis quidem filiis passa, sed in omnibus coronata, sicut in secundo libro Maccabaeorum narratur. Item commemoratur sanctus Eleazarus, unus de primoribus scribarum, vir aetate provectus, qui in eadem persecutione, illicitam carnem manducare propter vitae amorem respuens, gloriosissimam mortem magis quam odiosam vitam complectens, voluntarie praeivit ad supplicium, magnum virtutis relinquens exemplum.
Maybe some of you good readers can produce your flawless English versions for those whose Latin is less smooth.
Who were the Maccabee brothers?
They may be models for our own day, given what is probably coming.
The Maccabees were Jews who rebelled against the Hellenic Seleucid dynasty in the time of Antiochus V Eupator. The Maccabees founded the Hasmonean dynasty and fought for Jewish independence in Israel from 165-63 BC.
In 167 BC, Mattathias revolted against the Greek occupiers by refusing to worship the Greek gods. He killed a Hellenizing Jew who was willing to offer a sacrifice to the Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judea. Later Mattathias’s son Judas Maccabaeus led an army against the Seleucids and won. He entered Jerusalem, cleansed the Temple, and reestablished Jewish worship.
Hanukkah commemorates this victory.
In the period 167-164 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163) killed and sold thousands of Jews into slavery. He violated the Jewish holy sites and