Four Great Centurions


                  Centurion  Cornelius

Cornelius,  Centurion, of the Italian band,

Was pious and devout a  man, to God  obedient,

An angel did appear to him who asked him to dispatch

Two  serfs to Joppa there to find Saint Peter at his watch.

From Cesarea's site he sent the serfs to Joppa then,

To seek out  Simon Peter  and  invite this holy man.

And Simon Peter, after prayer, and vision in the night

Was willing and agreed to meet   the Gentile neophite.

They met,  but Peter was concerned he might his soul defile,

By eating from the food prepared in the house of a Gentile.

But on the roof he  had a dream of unclean food spread wide,

That asked  to eat from it at once with zest and appetite.

"T'is clean, yes, clean, the voice  assured, t'is clean go on and eat,

"Partake of  food that prejudice will foolishly forbid".

And Peter ate and  understood the dream and what it meant,

And shared the meal with his new host and did of doubt repent.

Cornelius, the Centurion, was hundred-fold repaid

For generous  alms he gave and psalms and prayers he had said,

Himself and all his kinfolk were by Peter, Rock, baptised.

He and his household and vast kin  henceforth belonged to Christ

Acts 10:1-14.

                      Centurion  Julius

Hail Julius! - Centurion, of Cesar's Regiment-

The warden of Apostle Paul,  gallant and  lenient;

Permitting the Apostle  Paul to freely roam with friends,

And meet with Christian converts, and to preach or make amends.

Benevolent custodian during the fateful trip,

On the tempestuous fearful sea, when foundering  was their ship.

Lest they escape, all  prisoners, with Paul, were to be killed,

But Julius intervened and proved to be the apostle's shield.

And  with Saint Paul in custody, kind Julius set free

His charge and ward to found again a new community.

T'is thanks to Julius we possess Epistles from the pen

Of great Saint Paul who wrote and wrote with passionate zeal Amen.

We know no more of Julius, -  deplore it, friends! - deplore!

Though he is mentioned on and off  at times in Christian Lore,

Legenda Aurea only says in Rome he realised

His erstwhile captive had been right,- God was in Jesus Christ

Acts 27:1-39.

                   Centurion of Capernaum

Hail to the chief of Caparnaum  of sly Fox Herod's band,

Whose slave was struck with illness grave and thus his master went

To Jesus for a healing of his  well beloved serf,

What extraordinary thing to do on mean King Herod's turf.

The  occupant kneels to  the Jew, - the conquered, - occupied,

And  does forgo  his Roman  might and military  pride;

And for a slave's sake comes to bow and  bend a ramrod  knee,

Behold What love can do! -  Oh love! - Love knows humility!

His words, repeated every day, are his great legacy, -

I'is  left with us in print and word for all posterity:

"O Lord  am not worthy that thou comest beneath my roof,

But only speak the word and I'll be healed by your great love!."

At mass when people celebrate as guests the banquet feast,

When the communicants receive the  Holy Eucharist,

The fervent trusting utterance of this centurion

Through ages and  through centuries keeps ringing onand on.

Luke 7:2-6  Matthew 8:5


Centurion  Gaius Cassius Longinus



Of Saint Longinus, the Centurion I will not write nor speak,

He is an extraordinary saint and in his way  unique,

I tried to dedicate to him a modest but fervent Ode,

The martyr saint but smiled at me and gave a gentle nod.

I praised the Cappadocian Saint's  for  his rusticity,

His valiant martyrdom and heroic sanctity,

October 16th every year is Saint Langinus's feast,

For Western Christianity and for the Byzantine  East;


The pilgrims come in throngs to touch his splendid shield's topaz

And chant "dear  Gaius  Cassius Longinus,  pay for us"!



Author's Notes/Comments: 

Longinus, you beheld the King of Glory
who was nailed to the Cross, yet shone on those in darkness.
You were enlightened by His rays and became a martyr and save those who cry:
Glory to Him who gave you strength!
Glory to Him who granted you a crown!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

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