Name: St. Timothy
Date: 24 January
Saint Timothy was a convert of Saint Paul, born at Lystra in Asia Minor. His mother was adaughter of Israel, but his father was a pagan, and though Timothy had read the Scriptures fromhis childhood, he had never been circumcised. On the arrival of Saint Paul at Lystra the youthfulTimothy, with his mother and grandmother, eagerly embraced the faith. Seven years later, whenthe Apostle again visited the country, the boy had grown into manhood. His good heart, hisausterities and zeal had won the esteem of all around him, and holy men were prophesying greatthings of the fervent youth. Saint Paul at once saw his fitness for the work of an evangelist, andTimothy was ordained a priest. From that time on he was the constant and much-belovedfellow-worker of the Apostle.
In company with Saint Paul he visited the cities of Asia Minor and Greece, once hastening onahead as a trusted messenger, at another time lingering behind to confirm in the faith a recentlyfounded church. Eventually he was made the first Bishop of Ephesus; and there he received thetwo epistles of his master which bear his name, the first written from Macedonia and the secondfrom Rome, where Saint Paul from his prison expresses his longing desire to see his “dearlybeloved son,” once more, if possible, before his death. It is not certain whether Saint Timothyarrived in Rome in time, but devotion to Saint Timothy has always been strong in Rome, whichseems to argue for his presence at the martyrdom of his spiritual father.
Saint Timothy was of a tender and affectionate disposition, and certainly found his role in theidolatrous city of Ephesus difficult to sustain. Saint Paul, when he writes to Timothy, then a testedservant of God and a bishop advancing in years, addresses him as he would his own child, andseems most anxious about his forcefulness in his demanding role. His disciple’s health was fragile,and Saint Paul counsels him to “take a little wine for his digestion.” Saint Timothy is the “Angelof the Church of Ephesus” of the Apocalypse, its bishop whom Our Lord, too, exhorted toremember his original faith and piety.
Not many years after the death of Saint Paul, Timothy, who had surely profited from thesecounsels, won a martyr’s crown at Ephesus, when on a feast day of the goddess Diana, whosetemple stood in that city, he entered into the ungovernable crowd to calm it, exhorting thesesouls, deprived of the light of truth, to renounce vain worship and embrace Christianity. Wild withidolatrous passion, a pagan struck down the bishop of the Christians, thus freeing him to join hisbeloved spiritual father in the realm of the Blessed.