Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110
Feast day: January 26
Saint Timothy was a convert of Saint Paul, born at Lystra in Asia Minor.
His mother was a daughter of Israel, but his father was a pagan, and
though Timothy had read the Scriptures from his childhood, he had never
been circumcised. On the arrival of Saint Paul at Lystra the youthful
Timothy, with his mother and grandmother, eagerly embraced the faith.
Seven years later, when the Apostle again visited the country, the boy
had grown into manhood. His good heart, his austerities and zeal had won
the esteem of all around him, and holy men were prophesying great things
of the fervent youth. Saint Paul at once saw his fitness for the work of
an evangelist, and Timothy was ordained a priest. From that time on he
was the constant and much-beloved fellow-worker of the Apostle.
In company with Saint Paul he visited the cities of Asia Minor and
Greece, once hastening on ahead as a trusted messenger, at another time
lingering behind to confirm in the faith a recently founded church.
Eventually he was made the first Bishop of Ephesus; and there he
received the two epistles of his master which bear his name, the first
written from Macedonia and the second from Rome, where Saint Paul from
his prison expresses his longing desire to see his “dearly beloved son,”
once more, if possible, before his death. It is not certain whether
Saint Timothy arrived in Rome in time, but devotion to Saint Timothy has
always been strong in Rome, which seems 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 the idolatrous city of Ephesus difficult to
sustain. Saint Paul, when he writes to Timothy, then a tested servant of
God and a bishop advancing in years, addresses him as he would his own
child, and seems 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 “Angel of
the Church of Ephesus” of the Apocalypse, its bishop whom Our Lord, too,
exhorted to remember his original faith and piety.
Not many years after the death of Saint Paul, Timothy, who had surely
profited from these counsels, won a martyr’s crown at Ephesus, when on a
feast day of the goddess Diana, whose temple stood in that city, he
entered into the ungovernable crowd to calm it, exhorting these souls,
deprived of the light of truth, to renounce vain worship and embrace
Christianity. Wild with idolatrous passion, a pagan struck down the
bishop of the Christians, thus freeing him to join his beloved spiritual
father in the realm of the Blessed.