Saint Timothy, Bishop and Martyr
from the Liturgical Year, 1904

Before giving thanks to God for the miraculous Conversion of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Church assembles us together for the Feast of his favourite Disciple. Timothy--the indefatigable companion of St. Paul--the friend to whom the great Apostle, a few days before shedding his blood for Christ, wrote his last Epistle--comes now to await his master's arrival at the Crib of the Emmanuel. He there meets John the Beloved Disciple, together with whom he bore the anxieties attendant on the government of the Church of Ephesus; Stephen, too, and the other Martyrs, welcome him, for he, also, bears a Martyr's palm in his hand. He presents to the august Mother of the Divine Babe the respectful homage of the Church of Ephesus, which Mary had sanctified by her presence, and which shares with the Church of Jerusalem the honour of having had Her as one of its number, who was not only, like the Apostles, the witness, but moreover, in her quality of Mother of God, the ineffable instrument of the salvation of mankind.

Let us now read, in the Office of the Church, the abridged account of the actions
of this zealous disciple of the Apostles.

Timothy was born at Lystra in Lycaonia. His father was a Gentile, and his mother a Jewess. When the Apostle Paul came into those parts, Timothy was a follower of the christian religion. The Apostle had heard much of his holy life, and was thereby induced to take him as the companion of his travels: but, on account of the Jews, who had become converts to the faith of Christ, and were aware that the father of Timothy was a Gentile, he administered to him the rite of circumcision. As soon as they arrived at Ephesus, the Apostle ordained him Bishop of that Church.

The Apostle addressed two of his Epistles to him--one from Laodicea, the other from Rome--to instruct him how to discharge his pastoral office, he could not endure to see sacrifice, which is due to God alone, offered to the idols of devils; and finding that the people of Ephesus were offering victims to Diana, on her festival, he strove to make them desist from their impious rites. But they, turning upon him, stoned him. The Christians could not deliver him from their hands, till he was more dead than alive. They carried him to a mountain not far from the town, and there, on the ninth of the Calends of February (January 24), he slept in the Lord.


In thee, O holy Pontiff! we honour one of the disciples of the Apostles--one of the links which connect us immediately with Christ. Thou appearest to us all illumined by thy communion with Paul the great Doctor of the Gentiles. Another of his disciples, Dionysius the Areopagite, made thee the confidant of his sublime contemplations on the Divine Names; but now, bathed in light eternal, thou thyself art contemplating the Sun of Justice, in the face-to-face vision. Intercede for us, who enjoy but a glimpse of his beauty through the veil of his humiliations, that we may so love him, as to merit to see him, one day, in his glory. In order to lessen the pressure of the corruptible body, which weigheth down the soul (Wisd. ix. 15), thou didst subject thy outward man to so rigorous a penance, that St. Paul exhorted thee to moderate it: do thou assist us in our endeavours to reduce our flesh to obedience to the spirit. The Church reads without ceasing the counsels, which the Apostle gave to thee, and to all Pastors through thee, for the election and the conduct of the clergy: pray that the Church may be blessed with Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, endowed with all those qualifications, which he requires from the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Lastly, we beseech thee, who didst ascend to heaven decked with the aureola of martyrdom, encourage us who are also soldiers of Christ, that we may throw aside our cowardice, and win that kingdom, where our Emmanuel welcomes and crowns His elect for all eternity.


St. Timothy, Bishop of Ephesus
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1877

The high esteem with which the Apostle Paul cherished Timothy, and the many praises which he bestowed upon him in his Epistles, are a convincing proof that St. Timothy was adorned with all those virtues which characterize an apostolic man. St. Paul calls him his dearest son and faithful companion, a servant of Christ, his brother, and the servant of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who does not seek himself, but Christ the Lord, etc., all encomiums that can only be given to a great Saint. Timothy was born at Listra, or Listris, in Lycaonia. His fatk was a pagan, and his mother, a Jewess, embraced the Christian religion when St. Paul came with St. Barnabas to Listra.

By the care of his mother, Timothy was brought up in the Faith, and was well instructed in the laws of God. When, afterwards, St. Paul came with Silas, his companion in his journeys, to Listra, he chose Timothy for co-laborer in announcing the doctrine of Jesus. After that, Timothy made many difficult journeys with St. Paul, and was often sent to preach the Gospel in various places whither the Apostle could not go in person. To make him more fit for these duties, St. Paul ordained him priest, and afterwards Bishop of Ephesus. He sent him two Epistles, the first from Laodicea, the second from Rome, in both of which he instructed him most carefully how to fulfil the duties of the Episcopal dignity. From one of these letters, we learn that Timothy had fasted strictly, and had abstained from the use of wine. Paul who was anxious about his health, advised him, on acount of his weak stomach, to take a little wine.

The Saint finished the great labors, which he underwent for the conversion of the pagans and the good of the newly converted, with a glorious martyrdom. For, when at Ephesus, where many were still pagans, a great feast was held in honor of the goddess Diana, the holy Bishop, urged on by his great zeal, went into the midst of the pagans, who were just engaged in offering sacrifices. With earnest and impressive words he showed them the impiety of their actions, and requested them to desist. But the enraged pagans rushed furiously upon him, dragged him for a time upon the earth, and at last began to stone him. Then the Christians bore him away by main force, and carried him to the top of a neighboring hill, where, full of joy that he could suffer and die according to his desire for the name of Christ, he gave up the ghost.

Practical Considerations

Notwithstanding his apostolic labors, St. Timothy fasted very strictly, and voluntarily abstained from the use of wine until St. Paul ordered him to take some. Can you not observe strictly at least the obligatory fasts of the Church? Do you believe that those excuses which you now give will avail before God? Can you not at times, through the desire of overcoming yourself for, the love of God, or of mortifying your body, which has sinned so much, abstain from some drink or food which is pleasing to you? Why do you not do so? Believe me, these victories over yourself, though they appear small, are precious sacrifices, most pleasing to God, which we can offer daily with great merit. Zealous servants of God have always been most diligent in their practice. For we derive by them the advantage of keeping farther off from unlawful pleasures, the more we endeavor to abstain from such as are lawful. "True servants of God," says St. Gregory, "have this peculiarity, that they abstain from lawful pleasures in order to remove themselves farther from those which are unlawful."


Prayer to St. Timothy
as your Patron Saint

Saint Timothy, whom I have chosen as my special patron, pray for me that I, too, may one day glorify the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Obtain for me your lively faith, that I may consider all persons, things, and events in the light of almighty God. Pray, that I may be generous in making sacrifices of temporal things to promote my eternal interests, as you so wisely did. Set me on fire with a love for Jesus, that I may thirst for His sacraments and burn with zeal for the spread of His kingdom. By your powerful intercession, help me in the performance of my duties to God, myself and all the world. Win for me the virtue of purity and a great confidence in the Blessed Virgin. Protect me this day, and every day of my life. Keep me from mortal sin. Obtain for me the grace of a happy death. Amen


Second Epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy
Chapter 3

(1) Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. (2) Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, (3) Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, (4) Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God: (5) Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

(6) For of these sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires: (7) Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth. (8) Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith. (9) But they shall proceed no farther; for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was. (10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,

(11) Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring, and driving into error. (14) But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

(16) All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, (17) That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.


Sermon of St. Augustine
on the Feast of St. Timothy

Today we keep our annual celebration of the triumph of the blessed Martyr Timothy, and the church, while rejoicing in his glory places him before us, that we may follow in his footsteps. If we suffer with him, we shall be glorified with him. There are two things to be considered in this glorious combat; namely, the hard-hearted cruelty of the torturer, that we may detest it; the patience of the Martyr, that we may imitate it. Hear what the Psalmist says in reproof of wickedness: be not emulous of evildoers, for they shall shortly wither away as grass. But the Apostle teaches patience with the wicked in the words: Patience is necessary for you, that you may receive the promise.

(Roman Breviary)


Prayers and Devotions to St. Timothy
A Scriptural Litany

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
God the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us. *

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,*
God the Holy Ghost,*
Holy Trinity, one God,*

God, of Whom, by Whom, and in Whom are all things,* (Rom. xi. 36.)

God, in Whom we live, and move, and are,* (Acts xvii. 28.)

Who alone hast immortality, and dwellest in light inaccessible,* (1 Tim. vi. 16.)

Whose majesty filleth the whole earth,* (Ps. lxxi. 19.)

Whom heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain,* (2 Kin. viii. 27.)

Who hast made all things for Thyself,* (Prov. xvi. 4.)

Who workest all things according to the counsel of thy will,* (Eph. i. 11)

In Whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the spirit of all flesh,* (Job xii. 10.)

Who openest thine hand, and fillest with blessing every living creature,* (Ps. cxliv. 16.)

Who hast power to cast body and soul into hell,* (Matt. x. 28.)
Who dost great things and unsearchable, and wonderful things without number,* (Job v. 9.)

Whose eyes are brighter than the sun, beholding all the ways of men,* (Eccl. xxiii. 28.)

Who catchest the wise in their craftiness, and disappointest the counsel of the wicked,* (Job v. 13.)

Who searchest the heart, and triest the reins,* (Jer. xvii. 10)

Whose judgments are incomprehensible, and whose ways are unsearchable,* (Rom. xi. 33.)

Who art the Father of orphans, and the Judge of widows,* (Ps. lxvii. 6.)

Merciful and patient, of much compassion, and true,* (Ps. lxxxv. 15.)

Our protector, and our reward exceedingly great,* (Gen. xv. 1.)

King of kings, and Lord and lords,* (1 Tim. vi. 13.)

King of ages, immortal and invisible, (1 Tim. i. 17.)

Be merciful, Spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, Graciously hear us, O Lord.

From all sin,
O Lord, deliver us. **

From pride and vain-glory,**

From avarice and worldly solicitude,**

From anger, resentment, and envy,**

From calumny, detraction, and rash judgment,**

From gluttony, drunkenness, and impurity,**

From spiritual sloth, and the forgetfulness of our salvation,**

From the abuse of thy grace, and a reprobate sense,**

From the worm that never dieth, and the fire that shall never be extinguished,**

From being deprived of the sight and enjoyment of Thee,**

Through Thy almighty power and infinite wisdom,**

Through Thy incomprehensible majesty and eternal glory,**

Through Thy ineffable bounty and superabundant mercy,**

Through all the humiliations and sufferings of thine only-begotten Son,**

We sinners, Beseech Thee, hear us.

That we may love Thee, the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.

We beseech Thee, hear us. ***

That we may adore Thee alone, and serve Thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives,***

That we may never take Thy holy name in vain,***

That we may sanctify the feasts and holy day of the Church,***

That we may give due honor and obedience to our parents and lawful superiors,***

That we may not injure our neighbor in body, soul or peace of mind,***

That we may crucify the flesh, with its vices and concupiscences, and be ever clean of heart,***

That we may not do to others what we whould not have others do to us,***

That we may not covet our neighbor's goods,***

That Thou wouldst make all grace abound in us,***

That we may present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Thee,***

That Thou wouldest bring us to the kingdom which Thou hast prepared for us from the foundation of the world,***

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

Let us pray:

O adorable Lord, in Three distinct and equal Persons One God, Who requirest the homage of our reason by the belief of mysteries which are above our understanding, and that of our will by the observances of precepts which are mortifying to our natural inclinations; give us Thy grace to perform this two-fold duty, and grant that we may never oppose our uncertain reasoning to Thy infallible truth, nor deliberately transgress Thy most high and holy commands. Thus continuing until death, in entire subjection to Thee, may we come at last to the clear and perfect enjoyment of Thee. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen