In the Roman Canon, after St. Cecilia we find St. Anastasia.
This holy widow and martyr is of Roman origin. She had much to suffer from the cruelty of her pagan husband Publius. After his death, she gave herself over to practices of charity and mercy. In the persecution of Diocletian she obtained, on the day of our Lord’s Nativity, 304, the palm of martyrdom by fire. On the spot where her house stood, a church (St. Anastasia) was erected in her honor; there under the high altar rests her body. Her feast is kept on December 25.
St. John, the visionary Apostle, “saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their bands,” and heard that “these are they who have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9, 14). Of this countless multitude of bright martyrs, only a few are mentioned in the Mass by name. They are those who in the principal city of Christendom (Rome) were at all times held in great veneration.
How perfected does not Christ’s power appear here in the most tender virgin martyrs! Their heavenly robes of glory not only shine with the splendor of an eternal brilliancy, but they are also crimsoned in their glory with the blood of a glorious sacrificial death.
With the saints named and with “all the saints,” whose number and names the all-seeing God alone knows, we, poor sinners, desire to be eternally united in heaven. This petition is expressed at the beginning of the Canon, and is now at the conclusion repeated again in other words, inasmuch as we implore admittance to the community of the heavenly citizens, and for such a fellowship with them we do not rely upon our own merit to obtain, but support our request for it on the merciful indulgence of God. We do not ask for the glory of the saints by reason of our own merits, but we confide in the merciful and gracious bounty of the Lord.
If we wish for the glory of the Saints, we must share their labors, sufferings and struggles. Through many tribulations only can we enter with all the saints into the joy of the Lord. We should, therefore, remember this when we beg for “some share and fellowship” with the Apostles and Martyrs; for if with them we suffer and die for Christ, with them also shall we be glorified.
St. Anastasia, pray for us!
For the Greater Glory of God,