The Catholic Defender: St Timothy and Titus
By the time I was born, my Mother had already begun investigating the Catholic Faith and she decided to name me after St. Timothy.
Growing up, I did not understand that but I certainly was called Tim, Timothy, Timmy even though it was my middle name. I actually thought Timothy was a sissy name so when I got older, I preferred my first name, Donald. Donald comes from the Celtic language meaning Chief.
When I began to really take a strong look at my Catholic roots in the latter 1970's, I began to discover who St. Timothy was and I began to appreciate my Mother's reason for naming me after St. Timothy.
The name Timothy comes from the Greek meaning, "honoring God" or "honored by God" which certainly means a lot to me now!
St. Timothy was born near Lycaonian which was located in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who became a Catholic Convert through the teaching of St. Paul. 2 Timothy 1:5 St. Paul writes to Timothy, "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well." Being brought up Jewish, St. Paul also wrote Timothy, "and that from infancy you have known the Sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ."
The faith that Timothy was taught came from the Jews so the Old Testament Scriptures were what St. Paul was speaking of, but Timothy received the oral teaching of the New Testament from St. Paul. St. Paul visited Lystra about 50 A.D. finding Timothy being well respected in the Community.
At this point, St. Paul invited Timothy to travel with him on his journeys spreading the Gospel. It was through the authority of St. Paul that Timothy was ordained to the priesthood. 1 Timothy 4:14-16 states, "Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers."
2 Timothy 1:6-7 reiterates the importance of priestly succession stating, "Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control."
With this foundation, both Lois (Timothy's Grandmother) and Eunice (Timothy's Mother) also became believers in the Catholic Faith.
St. Timothy would become the first Bishop of Ephesus and a contemporary of St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp from Smyrna who was ordained through the authority of St. John the Apostle.
St. Thomas according to tradition, witnessed the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to St. John Damascene, in 675 he writes that both St. John and St. Timothy were also present to witness the Virgin Mary's Assumption.
At the age of 80, St. Timothy was given the crown of martyrdom when in 97 A.D., he tried to stop a Pagan procession dedicated to the goddess Diana by preaching the Gospel.
The Pagans dragged St. Timothy through the streets and then stoned him to death.
In his travels with St. Paul, St. Timothy co-wrote the New Testament books of both letters to the Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
St. Timothy is the Patron Saint of those with stomach disorders, 1 Timothy 5:23 states, "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments." His Feast day is joined with St. Titus on January 26.
St. Titus was born a Greek Gentile close to Antioch. He was a master of Greek culture and philosophy until he met St. Paul.
St. Titus would become a useful secretary who could interpret for St. Paul as he journeyed throughout the region.
St. Titus was present at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 A.D. which is important because of the debate over circumcision. For Titus, that could be a vital question. St. Titus also worked to raise money to support the Jerusalem Church. It is believed St. Titus might be related to St. Luke, according to tradition St. Luke did not mention himself or his family because of his humility.
St. Titus was baptized by St. Paul and then became a strong co-worker with St. Paul. St. Paul would write to Titus saying, "to Titus, my true child in our common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior."
Like St. Timothy, St. Titus traveled far and wide with St. Paul sharing the Catholic Faith to many people.
So much did St. Paul love Titus, he would write (2 Corinthians 2:12-13) "When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia."
According to St. Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Titus served as the first Bishop of Crete. St. Paul writes to Titus saying, "To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you..." (Titus 1:4-5)
St. Titus did just that as he appointed priests in every city and town in Crete until he died in the city of Candia (Herakion)
Titus has a similar story as did St. Timothy when he challenged the Pagans who were celebrating a feast dedicated to the goddess Diana.
St. Titus began to preach to the crowds but when he recognized the Pagans was ignoring him, Titus called upon the Lord Jesus to make Himself real to the people.
As St. Titus prayed moving towards the idol of Diana, the people were shocked when the idol fell down and shattered at the feet of St. Titus.
The Pagan priests were not amused as many people were seeking baptism. If there were any question who held the true power between God the Father and Zeus, St. Titus dispels that in dramatic fashion. What would finally convert many of the Pagans was when St. Titus approached the Pagan temple of Zeus in prayer and it too collapsed. The blame for this collapse appears to have been caused by an earthquake. With God all things are possible.
At the age of 97, St. Titus dies a peaceful death as his face shown the radiance of God's glory, a bright light like the sun. St. Titus is the patron saint of the United States Army Chaplain Corps.