Saint Titus, Bishop and Confessor

February 6

Today is the feast day of Saint Titus.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Titus was born a Gentile, and seems to have been converted by St. Paul, who calls him his son in Christ. His virtue and merit gained him the affection of the apostle, for we find him employed as his secretary; and Paul styles him his brother and partner in his labors, commends his zeal for his brethren, and expresses the comfort he found in him, in so much that on one occasion he declared that he found no rest in his spirit because at Troas he had not met Titus. (3)

by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

Hagiographers tell us very little of the life, virtues, and memorable acts of St. Titus; but the facts recorded by St. Paul in his Epistles are sufficient to entitle him to our highest veneration. This holy Apostle calls Titus his brother, his son, his companion, and his fellow-laborer. He says, among other things, that he had confided to him the government of the See of Crete, and writes him a special Epistle, containing instructions for the proper discharge of his episcopal duties. All these testimonies are proof of the reputation for virtue and holiness which the disciple enjoyed in the eyes of his great master. According to St. Chrysostom and many others, Titus was born of heathen parents at Corinth. Temperance, seclusion, and chastity, joined with the study of the liberal arts and of languages, formed the chief attractions of his youth. When St. Paul made Corinth the field of his operations in spreading the light of the Gospel, Titus was one of the first to acknowledge the truth of our heavenly doctrines, and to solicit the favor of Baptism at the hands of the Apostle. The latter duly appreciated the noble dispositions and the brilliant talents of the youth, and after grounding him in the tenets of our holy Faith joyfully conferred on him the desired grace.

Titus, not content with procuring this happiness for himself, longed to see all men enjoy the blissful knowledge of Jesus Christ. St. Paul, aware of his zeal, took him as his companion in his evangelical labors throughout all Asia, and soon consecrated him Bishop of Crete and the adjacent isles. Dalmatia was the next field of his apostolic labors. His fatigue and exertions in his visitation of so many countries, and especially during his sojourn at Corinth, for the conversion of the idolaters; the persecutions which he underwent, and the thousands of souls whom he rescued from the mazes of Paganism, are known to the living God only. His fixed determination to comply to the letter with all the instructions, which he had received from St. Paul for his conduct in his episcopal duties, was the ground-work of his sanctity.

There can be no doubt of the many miracles which rendered his evangelical career glorious, and proved to be beacons of salvation to numberless benighted unbelievers. The Corinthians possessed a very valuable statue of Diana, to which they refused to cease paying Divine honors. The holy Bishop betook himself to prayer, from which he soon rose, penetrated with new courage, and precipitated the statue from the pinnacle which it occupied, with such force that it was shattered into a thousand pieces; the blind worshippers immediately acknowledged their folly in adoring a being so powerless. Another day Titus happened to be passing before a stately pagan temple, built in honor of Jupiter by the Governor Secundus, in compliance with the imperial command. Obeying a heavenly injunction, the holy man cursed the temple, as Christ had cursed the barren fig-tree, and immediately, without receiving the least touch of human hand, it fell to the ground. These and many other miracles, wrought by St. Titus through power from on high, opened the eyes of the heathens to the truth of our holy Faith, which they embraced with -every demonstration of joy.

The holy servant of God occupied the episcopal chair nearly thirty-eight years, during which his zeal for souls never abated. At the age of ninety-four he was called by the Lord to receive his crown of eternal glory. The ministers of God were angels, who appeared to him at the hour of his death, and invited him to enter into the possession of never-fading joys. After his death his countenance appeared to the bystanders lit up with a heavenly glow. St. Chrysostom attests his perseverance in virginity. His esteem for this precious virtue arose from a sense of its eminent dignity, and impelled him to recommend it to others. (1)

from the Liturgical Year, 1904

We are to celebrate today, the Feast of a holy Bishop of the Apostolic Age–a Disciple of the Apostle St. Paul. Little is known of his life; but, by addressing to him one of his inspired Epistles, the Apostle of the Gentiles has immortalised his memory. Wheresoever the Faith of Christ has been or shall be preached, Titus’ name has been venerated by the Faithful; and as long as the world lasts, the holy Church will read to her children this Epistle, which was written, indeed, to a simple Bishop of the Isle of Crete, but was dictated by the Holy Ghost, and therefore destined to be a part of those Sacred Scriptures, which contain the word of God. The counsels and directions given in this admirable Letter, were the rule of the holy Bishop, for whom St. Paul entertained a very strong affection. St. Titus had the honour of establishing the Christian Religion in that famous Island, which was one of the strong-holds of Paganism. He survived his master, who was put to death by Nero. Like St . John, he sweetly slept in Christ at a very advanced age, respected and loved by the Church he had founded. As we have already observed, his life left but few traces behind it; but these few are sufficient to prove him to have been one of those wonderful men, whom God chose as the directors of his infant Church.

Titus, Bishop of Crete, was initiated into the christian faith by Paul the Apostle; and being prepared by the sacraments, he shed so bright a light of sanctity on the infant Church, that he merited to be chosen as one of the Disciples of the Doctor of the Gentiles. Being called to bear the burden of preaching the Gospel, so ardent and persevering was he in the discharge of that duty, that he endeared himself to St. Paul so much, as to make the Apostle say in one of his Epistles, that being come to Troas, to preach the faith in that city, he found no rest for his heart, because he found not there his brother Titus. And having, a short time after this, gone to Macedonia, he thus expresses his affection for his disciple in these terms: But God who comforteth the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

Being sent to Corinth by the Apostle, he acquitted himself in this mission (which mainly consisted in collecting the alms given by the piety of the faithful towards alleviating the distress of the Hebrew Church) with so much prudence and patience, that he not only confirmed the Corinthians in the faith of Christ, but made them so desirous of a visit from Paul, who had been their first teacher in the faith, that they shed tears of longing affection. After having undertaken several journeys, both by sea and land, in order to sow the seed of the divine word among people of various tongues and countries; and after having supported, with great firmness of soul, countless anxieties and fatigues, in order to plant the standard of the Cross;–he landed at the island of Crete in company with his master St. Paul. The Apostle made him Bishop of the Church which he had founded in that island: and it is not to be doubted but that Titus so discharged his duty as that he became a model to the Faithful, according to the advice given to him by his master, in good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity.

Thus did he become a shining light, pouring forth the rays of christian faith on them that were sitting in the darkness of idolatry and lies, as in the shadow of death. Tradition tells us that he passed into Dalmatia, where he laboured with extraordinary zeal to enlist that people under the banner of the Cross. At length, full of days and merit, in the ninety-fourth year of his age, he slept in the Lord the death of the just, on the vigil of the nones of January (January 4th), and was buried in the Church in which the Apostle had appointed him Minister of the word. St. John Chrysostom and St. Jerome pass great eulogium upon this holy Bishop, and his name is inscribed in the Roman Martyrology on the day above mentioned; but in establishing his Feast to be celebrated, with an Office and Mass, throughout the catholic world, by the clergy secular and regular, the Sovereign Pontiff Pius the Ninth ordered it to be kept on the first vacant day following the anniversary of the Saint’s death. (1)

Research by REGINA Staff


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