St. James was a Persian military officer and courtier to King Yezdigerd I. He was a great favorite of the king, so when this king began to harass Christians, St. James did not have the courage to confess his faith. He was afraid of losing the king’s friendship.
Instead he gave up his faith or at least pretended to. Saint James’ wife and mother were broken-hearted. When the king died, they wrote a strong letter to him to change his ways.
This letter had its effect on St. James. He had been a coward, but at heart, he was still good. Now he began to stay away from court. He blamed himself openly for having given up his faith.
The new king Bahram sent for him, but this time, James did not hide anything. “I am a Christian,” he said. The king accused him of being ungrateful for all the honors his father, King Yezdigerd, had given him.
“And where is your father now?” St. James calmly answered. The angry king threatened to put the saint to a terrible death. Saint James replied, “May I die the death of the just.”
The king and his council ordered for James to be tortured to death and be cut up into many pieces. But James was not afraid. He said, “This death which appears so dreadful is very little for the purchase of eternal life.”
Then he told the executioners, “Begin your work.” All the while, he kept declaring what he believed, that his body would one day rise in glory. St. James Intercisus died in 421. The word Intercisus means “cut into pieces”.
Reflection: Throughout the history of the Church martyrdom has always held a preeminent place because it has been viewed as the most sublime consummation of the Christian vocation and the greatest surety of obtaining the eschatological hope. The experience of martyrdom should not be sought after nor should it be cowardly rejected. Rather it should be freely and courageously embraced as the crowning witness of a radical option for God and for the kingdom. In this way an individual becomes conformed to Christ, the faithful witness (Revelation 1:5) . Thus the martyrs are constituted as a type of archetype of holiness with regard to the Christian life and their example reinvigorates the Church in its mission of evangelization, its mission of communicating the joy of salvation to all people and thus promoting a more human lifestyle. by:Vinícius Augusto Ribeiro Teixeira, CM
Prayer: O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed James the Intercisus with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.