Saint George

When I think of Saint George I think of him slaying the dragon.  The story goes that he was riding one day in the province of Lybia and came to a city called Sylene.  In the marsh outside of town there was a huge dragon.  The locals had tried to kill the beast but it was too much for them.

To keep the dragon from eating them, the townspeople gave it two goats each day as a sacrifice.  Sometimes they would run short on the goats and would have to sacrifice a villager.  They chose the victim by drawing lots.

On this particular day, the princess had won the lottery and was on her way to be eaten when George jumped in and killed the dragon with one mighty swipe of his sword.  As you can imagine, the people were very impressed, especially the princess’ father.  George’s condition for getting rid of the dragon was that the villagers would believe in Jesus Christ and become baptized.

There’s no reason to believe that this story actually happened but it showed the respect that the people had for George’s abilities as a soldier and evangelist.  George was a real person and some of the legends that surround him are surely true.  We just don’t know which ones.

Of course the Church doesn’t normally canonize people just because they were soldiers.  That’s really not our style.  But apparently he was a model Christian.  George lived in the 300’s yet was reported to have been seen helping the troops at Antioch in 1098.  Richard I came back from the crusades and spoke of the great power of St. George’s intercession.

Most likely none of us will ever be called to be soldiers, but it’s good to know that our young men and women who are serving our country have a patron to call on.  Let’s pray that Saint George is watching over all the brave volunteers making so many sacrifices to keep our land free.

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