St. Titus isn't talked about much. Chances are you haven't prayed a novena to St. Titus (in fact, a quick search on the internet would indicate that one doesn't exist), no one is wearing a St. Titus medal, and the vast majority of Catholics have probably never read the Book of Titus in the Bible - a short, 3 chapter letter written to Titus by St. Paul.
However, ten minutes spent reading Titus are likely to quickly grow into 20, and then 30, as you find yourself meditating on its simple yet profound message.
Here are just a few of the countless gems one can glean from St. Paul's brief but beautiful epistle, and one thing we can learn from St. Titus's life:
1.) Be Zealous for Good Deeds
In Chapter 2 of Titus, St. Paul urges his disciple to "teach what befits the doctrine," and goes on to use the following adjectives:
- sound in faith, love and steadfastness
He urges older men and women to set good examples for those younger than them, saying, "Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds..." In fact, the chapter ends with the fact that Jesus Christ gave himself to redeem and "purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:14, emphasis added)
Zealous for good deeds. One must ask oneself: Am I zealous for good deeds? Do they bring me joy? Do I seek them out? Do I strive to spread good deeds everywhere I go?
2.) Know God - in word and deed
In Titus 1:16, St. Paul says, "They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good deed." Do you proclaim yourself a Christian? If so, do your actions proclaim it as well? Root out any action that would seem contrary, lest you fall into the "detestable and disobedient" category!
3.) Avoid Stupid Controversies
Paul exhorts Titus to remind them to "...avoid quarreling, to be gentle, to show perfect courtesy toward all men," (Ti 3:2), later stating, "avoid stupid controversies... for they are unprofitable and futile." (Titus 3:9) Some things are worth fighting for, and Paul makes it clear in Titus what those things are: the Gospel, the difference between right and wrong, demonstrating our love and "knowing" of God by our deeds (1:16). But some fights aren't worth fighting. They're unprofitable and futile. In fact, they distract us away from our own spiritual good, from knowing God. Be on the lookout for "stupid controversies." Avoid them like the plague!
4.) There's Hope for Us Yet!
Did you indict yourself based upon 1, 2, or 3? Take heart!
In the midst of all this, Paul tells Titus, "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another; but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy... so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life." (Ti 3:3-7)
We will never be saved through our own righteousness and good deeds, but through the love and mercy of our Lord. Today, may we strive to serve him in word and deed, for it is in the desire to please him that we, though imperfect, may become "heirs in hope to eternal life!"
5.) Be Generous to Brethren Far Away
This final lesson comes not from the letter St. Paul wrote to St. Titus, but from an episode in their lives, and it's this story that brought St. Titus to our (the FFHL's) attention as we write this on the saint's feast day. When famine struck Jerusalem, St. Paul sent Titus to Corinth with a letter - the Second Letter to the Corinthians - which contained an impassioned plea for generous support of the poor in Jerusalem, using phrases like, "he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully,"(2 Cor 9:6) "God loves a cheerful giver," (2 Cor 9:7) and "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness." (2 Cor 9:10)
The Catechism tells us, "The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself," (CCC 1825) and it also says, "The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy." (CCC 1829)
Paul sent Titus all the way to Corinth on a mission - a mission to share the joy of the Gospel and celebrate the conversion of many in Corinth, and a mission to raise awareness and support for the people of Jerusalem who were in great need. At the FFHL, this mission especially speaks to our hearts as we seek to share Christ with the people of the Holy Land today, and to minister to the Christians who remain their even as they struggle against poverty and unemployment. If you'd like to generously support our mission in prayer or gift, we trust in God's abundance to "supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness" today.