“Philosophy is the knowledge
of that which exists,
and a clear understanding of the truth;
and happiness is the reward of such knowledge and understanding.”
St. Justin, born in Palestine around the year 100, was the first Christian philosopher. After years of studying pagan philosophies, he decided to convert to Christianity. Taking advice from a wise man, he began studying the Old Testament, especially the writings of the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ. Justin then began to learn about Jesus’ teachings. He found studying Christianity answered the great questions about life and existence better than the philosophers. Justin was baptized and opened a school of Christian studies in Rome. Because the New Testament had not been written yet, he used the oral teachings of the Apostles that the Christian community shared with one another.
In addition to teaching philosophy, Justin also used the written word to defend the Christian religion against attacks and misunderstandings of the pagans. He is the author of some the best-known written defenses of the Christian faith during the second century. He stressed Divine Mercy spreads over the just and unjust without distinction and invited sincere prayer even for one’s enemies. Because of his staunch adherence to the Christian religion, Justin refused to offer a sacrifice to the pagan gods worshipped by the Romans. He and six other Christians were executed around the year 165.
As a martyred saint, Justin helped us understand that only our faith in Jesus gives meaning to our lives. Two of the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us at Baptism, wisdom and understanding, strengthen us in Christ’s love and inspire us to share the truth about Jesus with others. He inspired us to use our powers of wisdom and understanding in the service of Christ and to help build up the Christian life within us.
Website: Loyola Press http://loyolapress.com/saints.htm#