Have you ever been told a story about someone you know that seemed impossible, but actually happened? When I tell people that my great-great-uncle was able to do pull ups with just the fingertips of one hand on the edge of a door frame well into his late seventies, people often think I am joking. But he really could!
That is the way it is with St. Christopher, whose life is surrounded by many amazing stories. He lived so long ago, we don’t know whether these stories are true or not, but we do know God can do great things in our lives!
One amazing fact about St. Christopher is that people said he was a giant. Whether St. Christopher was really a giant or not, it is believed he was at least a big, tall, and strong man.
Christopher wanted to serve the greatest king on earth. So, he asked the local king if he may serve him. Of course, the king, seeing this big, strong man, agreed.
Christopher served him faithfully. One day the king showed fear when another kingdom was about to attack his castle.
“So, I am not serving the greatest ruler on earth, if you fear this other king,” said Christopher.
Christopher left the service of this king to find the greatest ruler. Eventually, he met the devil, and the devil claimed to be the greatest ruler of the world. Again, Christopher served the devil faithfully. But one day as they passed a crucifix, the devil became afraid.
“You’re not the greatest ruler either!” exclaimed Christopher, and he left the devil.
Christopher learned that the devil feared Jesus, and so he wanted to serve Jesus. He met a monk who taught Christopher all about the Catholic faith and baptized him. The monk wanted Christopher to become a hermit (a man who lives by himself in the wilderness and devotes most of his day to prayer). However, Christopher was not happy about this idea. So the monk told him to find another way to serve Christ.
There was a deep and treacherous river nearby, and Christopher, with approval from the monk, went there to help guide boats and people across the water.
One day a small boy showed up and asked Christopher to help him across. Christopher put him on his shoulders and started out into the water. About halfway across the water, the child seemed to grow heavier and heavier. Christopher could barely get the two of them across the water. After reaching the other shore, Christopher sat down to rest and asked the child why he became so heavy.
“I am the Christ child that you carried across the river, and you were also carrying the burdens of the world that I always carry.”
Then the Christ child vanished.
Some believe that Christopher then went and taught many people about the Christian faith and converted thousands. What do you think? What would you have done if you had just carried the Christ child?
Feast day: July 25
St. Christopher, pray for us!
Activity: Truth or Fiction?
Take turns with your parents or friends telling stories, some true and some fiction. After the story is finished, the storyteller asks the listener if the story was truth or fiction. Then the listener becomes the storyteller. Keep track of how many times each person guesses correctly.