Saint Justin (+165) who is called the ‘martyr’, was born around the time the last Apostle, John, departed this life for heaven. Justin was not raised in the Catholic faith – few were in those incipient days of the Church – but was rather a pagan convert to Christianity. He first investigated the various philosophies of the age, Platonism, Socratic, Peripatetic, Stoic, Pythagorean, but none satisfied his desire for the ‘whole truth and nothing but…’.

It was a chance meeting with an old man, a Syrian Christian, who offered him the simplicity and coherence of the Catholicism, which satisfied Justin’s desire for truth and beauty, and his mind and soul were made up. He entered the Church, receiving Baptism, and never looked back – It is from Justin’s pen that we have one of the earliest descriptions of the Holy Mass, in a letter to Antoninus Pius in around 155 A.D. (cf., CCC, #1345).

Justin adopted the life of an itinerant teacher, eventually starting a school in Rome, writing much, but what survives are two dialogues and an ‘apology’; hence is called the first of the ‘apologists’, those who made a ‘reasoned defence’ of the faith, as Saint Peter exhorted us to do (1 Pet 3:15).

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