Walking with Saint Justin: A Journey of Faith and Discovery

Step into the footsteps of Saint Justin the Martyr on June 1st. This day, we (Catholics), along with some mainstream Protestant churches, remember his life and teachings. Born around AD 100, Justin was a deacon and philosopher from a town now named Nablus. His life ended as a martyr during the reign of the Roman co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus around AD 167. But his writings, defending our faith, still inspire us today.

Imagine you’re in the bustling ancient city of Rome amidst philosophers and diverse beliefs. Ancient Rome, to be sure, was like our modern-day Western cities and towns, where an assortment of thoughts and beliefs compete. Christian thought was seen as unreasonable and belonging to those who have either lost their mind or are looking for a moral world that is not acceptable. To be a Christian was to be marked with the ink of public disavowal.

The Quest for Truth

Consider embarking on a faith journey, much like Saint Justin did in the bustling ancient city of Rome. Like a treasure hunter, Justin delved into the philosophies of his time, seeking nuggets of truth. His path wasn’t a straight line. Instead, it was a winding road filled with doubts, questions, and revelations. This quest led him to the ultimate treasure—faith in Jesus Christ. His journey of faith and discovery can inspire us to embark on our journeys, seeking deeper faith and understanding.

Justin the Martyr: A Symbol of Faith and Inspiration
Photo by Valentina Alvarez de Gonzalez © Cathopic

As we walk with Justin through history, we witness a time when his newfound faith was tested. Our faith, too, must be tested. If any doubt exists about this claim, it should be a question of when, not if.

Imagine Justin standing tall in a courtroom, surrounded by hostile faces. Those who brought him to court weren’t the masses. They were the so-called elites who could not stand his reasoning and logic and thought his views were quite outrageous or, in our modern language, offensive. Even with his life at stake, Justin stood firm. His courage wasn’t just in words but in his unwavering stand for what he believed, even unto death. Let us admire his steadfastness and draw inspiration from his steadfast faith.

Courage to Stand Firm

Justin’s journey challenges us to reflect on our stances on life, faith, community, and family. Are we seekers of truth? Can we stand firm in our beliefs, even when others doubt or cancel us? The readings for Justin’s memorial, such as Jude 17, 20b-25, remind us to strengthen ourselves in faith and abide in God’s love. Does this resonate with your life values?

The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6) beautifully describes a soul yearning for God like a dry land needing rain. Justin’s life exemplifies this thirst. His quest for knowledge was intertwined with a deep spiritual hunger. When we feel dry, when our souls long for more, we can lift our hands in prayer and let God’s love fill us up. Let us yearn for a deeper connection with God, just as Justin did. Intimacy with God fills the heart with joy and strengthens us against any trial that might come our way. As Scripture says, the one in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4).

In the Gospel reading from Mark 11:27-33, we see Jesus engaging with the chief priests and scribes. They were challenging his understanding and authority. This scene mirrors Justin’s encounters with the intellectual elite of his time. It is a reminder that our journey of faith is not solitary. We walk alongside saints, scholars, and fellow believers who challenge and inspire us. They have been in our shoes. We can learn from them.

Firm in Our Convictions

Justin’s life encourages us to engage in this dialogue, question, seek, and stand firm in our convictions. I would rather die, cuddling the truth I found, than live, tossing it as the wind of trials blows. It takes grace to uphold this principle; I wish believers everywhere would.

Beacon of Light and Inspiration

Let us carry forward Justin’s legacy. Let his life be a light guiding us through our spiritual journeys. We are called to be truth seekers, truth lovers who embrace truth when we find it, to be brave in our faith, and to long for a deeper connection with God. Let Justin’s example inspire us to seek deeper faith and courage, showing us that we can face even the most demanding challenges with faith, courage, and a relentless quest for truth.

Saint Justin the Martyr’s life is a powerful example of faith and courage. His journey encourages us to continually seek a deeper understanding, be firm in our beliefs, and thirst for a closer relationship with God. May his example guide us in our spiritual adventures towards faith, courage, and divine wisdom. Let us walk with him towards the ultimate treasure of divine truth and eternal life. Amen.

God loves you. God bless you. Amen.

[Readings: Jude 17, 20b-25; Mark 11:27-33]

Fr. Maurice Emelu

Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria and the Founder of Gratia Vobis Ministries. An assistant professor of communication (digital media) at John Carroll University, USA, Father Maurice is also a theologian, media strategist, and digital media academic whose numerous works appear on television networks such as EWTN. As he likes to describe himself; “I am an African priest passionately in love with Christ and his Church.”


  1. JohnBosco on June 1, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    An enriching reflection as always. Thank you, Fr.
    May St. Justin pray for us and obtain for us the grace to always seek the truth and the courage to preserve and transmit the truth when found. Amen.

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