Tomorrow we keep the feast day of saints Timothy and Titus. Both were converted by St. Paul, whose own conversion we commemorate today. Paul appointed Titus to be bishop of Crete and Timothy to be bishop of the Christians at Ephesus. Timothy seems to have been very young when he was chosen as St. Paul urges him not to let anyone take advantage of his comparative lack of years. Both Timothy and Titus were martyred for their faith.
All these saints – Timothy, Titus and Paul – were converts to the faith, either from Judaism or from paganism. There are also many other saints in the calendar who were converted to the Catholic faith. But there is a sense in which we must all be converts – even those who were baptised into the Church in their earliest infancy. Because we must all actively chose to follow Christ. This conversion is not just a one off event. It happens each and every day of our lives. In our words and in our actions we have to show where our faith lies. Some have been called to show that magnificently in martyrdom, most of us are called to show in less spectacular ways. May St. Paul, and St Timothy and St Titus pray for us to show that we do believe in Jesus, the Son of the living God.
On Monday we keep the feast day of St. Hilary. He was born into a pagan family in southern France around the year 310 AD. After marrying and having a family Hilary was converted to Christianity and his zeal for his new found faith is shown in the fact that he was chosen to be Bishop of Poitier in mid France. He was renowned for his eloquent preaching and his forthright defence of the orthodox Christian teaching about the nature of Christ which was under attack from those who wished to water down claims about Christ’s divinity. In fact he was such a pain to these heretics that they had him exiled by the emperor, one of their sympathisers, to Asia minor. The heretics there grew so fed up of him undermining their teaching that they sent him back! On returning to his diocese Hilary set about systematically correcting those who had been infected by wrong beliefs. He died in Poitier in 368, and is venerated as one of the Doctors of the Church.
We live in a ‘sophisticated’ yet shallow age when we are not encouraged to stand up for what we believe in and when it is considered bad form to correct the errors of others. St. Hilary shows us that when truth is at stake we have no right to sell it short. May he pray for us that we may gently but firmly proclaim the fullness of the faith that tells us that Jesus is both man and God.