Despite being one of the most celebrated and illustrated saints—including within the Eastern Rites of the Church and the Orthodox—there is very little known historically except that Nicholas was a bishop in the early 4th century. St. Nicholas was known for his charity and his protection of children. He prayed and fasted often, and survived torture in prison under “The Great Persecution" of Diocletian. Nicholas died of old age and, because his life is filled with stories of miracles, great care was taken to preserve his relics. To this day, mysterious water is exuded and collected from St. Nicholas' tomb to be distributed to devotees throughout the world.
Reflection: Part of St. Nicholas' modern-day legacy brings joy to little boys and girls on his feast day, December 6. Little ones throughout the world leave their shoes out the night before hoping to find candy and other goodies in the morning. This lovely tradition celebrates children, something that our nation fails to do, preferring to abort and otherwise deny children the right to be born. As we pray for our bishops, let us ask St. Nicholas' intercession for each of them. May they, as well as each of us, be as little children before Christ and in our efforts to defend the innocent.