Today is the feast day of Saint Porphyrius. He was an actor or “comedian” in Rome when Emperor Julian the Apostate ruled (361-363). Julian had reinstituted persecution against the Christians. The amazing fact about Porphyrius is that he was converted while playacting (perhaps even mocking) the sacrament of baptism. I was always struck by this conversion and that of another comedian martyr, Saint Genesius, both of whom were hit with grace while playacting. No, they were not catechumens. All that was needed for a valid baptism was that the recipient not place an obstacle by a deliberate negative intent to invalidate the rite. Otherwise, how can one explain the instantaneous conversion? These two actors were showered with supernatural grace on the spot: they received Faith, Hope, and Charity (with sorrow for sin) instantly. That’s POWER! That is what makes the baptism of Christ infinitely superior to that of John the Baptist.
Obscure Saints, Jacob Gruber: If you were asked off the top of your head to name five saints of the Catholic Church, who would come to mind? St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Padre Pio, or St. Francis of Assisi? Perhaps St. John Paul II or Mother Teresa? But what about St. Euphemia or St Paphnutius? Surely St. Iphigenia made it somewhere on the list? Read the saint’s story here.