Who is Saint Christopher?
Saint Christopher was a colossal man who lived in the land of Canaan. His only wish was to serve the greatest prince in the world. Thinking that the king of his country was the greatest of all rulers, Saint Christopher devoted himself to his service.
One day at a palace feast, a juggler sang a song in the king's presence with words about the devil. Scandalized by what had just happened, the lord immediately made the sign of the cross. Saint Christopher carefully observed the scene that had just taken place before his eyes. Then he approached the king and asked him: "Lord, what does this gesture of your hand mean?
At first, the king refused to answer him. Saint Christopher insisted strongly on his servant. The latter finally confessed half-heartedly: "Whenever I hear the devil named, I protect myself with this sign, lest he take power over me and harm me. The moment the king told him this, Saint Christopher knew that he was not the most powerful man in the world and that the one called "the devil" was much more formidable than he was. His quest was immediately resumed. He left the king and went in search of this cursed demon.
Saint Christopher in the service of the devil
On his way to search for the devil, Saint Christopher met an army in the desert. The leader of the army saw St Christopherr alone in the desert and approached him. Then the two men began to talk. The leader asked him:
- Where are you going?
- I am going in search of the devil in order to serve him
- So look no further, here I am.
After these words, Saint Christopher understood that it was the devil, he was finally relieved. The most powerful man in the world was there, in front of him. He then began to serve him. One day, St. Christopher was accompanied by the devil when they passed by a cross on the side of a road. The devil's reaction was instantaneous. At first he froze. Then, horrified, he fled in haste, making a tedious diversions to avoid the object.
Saint Christopher asked the fallen angel the cause of his behaviour. The devil then confessed: "It is that a man named Christ was bound and crucified on a cross to redeem men and cause my downfall, and since then, whenever I see the cross of Christ, I am afraid and run away". At that decisive moment, Saint Christopher realised that he was not in the presence of the most powerful being in the world and was deeply disappointed. He left him at once.
In search of Christ
Going back on the road alone, Saint Christopher searched for a long time to see if anyone could tell him about this powerful being called "Christ". One day, he met a hermit full of wisdom. This man took the time to answer him: "The master whom our giant wished to serve required him to fast often first. But this was beyond the strength of Saint Christopher ! So the hermit brought him another recommendation. The giant had to pray a lot. But Saint Christopher did not know how to pray!
So the hermit asked him if he knew the river of the country, the one that cannot be crossed without danger of death. Fortunately, St Christopherr knew it. Great and strong as you are," said the hermit, "if you were to stay near this river and help travellers to cross it, it would be very pleasing to Christ whom you want to serve, and perhaps He would consent to show Himself to you. St Christopher knew that he had the ability to do this. So he made a promise to the hermit to do so to serve Christ.
St Christopher settled on the bank of the river. There he built himself a shelter and with a stick made with his own hands, he carried from one bank to the other all the people who needed it.
A perilous crossing
Many months passed and then one night St. Christopher heard a sweet child's voice calling him, "Christopher, come and take me across the river! Then St Christopher came out of his shelter to help the boy. But once outside, despite all the trouble he took to look for him, he saw no one. Baffled, he went back to his hut. Suddenly, the little boy's voice rang out again: "Christopher, come and take me across the river! Saint Christopher came out immediately. But no matter how many times he looked around, he could see no one. As he was about to go back in, he heard the child calling him a third time. And this time he saw him. The child was there, in front of him. He begged him to help him cross the river.
Then St Christopher went to the child, took him in his arms and lifted him onto his shoulders. Then, armed with his modest stick, he entered the cold waters.
Saint Christopher was used to making this crossing. Traditionally, it did not pose any particular strain on him. But this time it was different. When he was in the middle of the river, St Christopherr noticed that the water level was rising abnormally and increasingly fast. At the same time, the child's weight was increasing. The boy was becoming heavy and the water was close to swamping St. Christopher, so much so that on more than one occasion he thought that they would both perish in the river.
However, St Christopher managed to reach the other bank. He gently and carefully placed the boy on the other bank and said to him: "Oh my dear child! You have put me in a very dangerous situation! You weighed so much that it seemed to me that I was carrying the whole world on my shoulders!
Then the little boy answered him in a calm and confident tone: "Don't be surprised, Saint Christopher. Yes, you were carrying the whole world on your shoulders and you were also carrying the one who created the world. I am Christ, your master and the one you serve by your works on these shores. As proof of my words, when you have reached your hut on the other shore, plant your stick in the earth near it. You will find it tomorrow full of flowers and fruit.
Saint Christopher listened attentively to the little boy's words while looking at the other bank. When he turned to answer him, the child had disappeared. So St Christopher followed the child's advice and planted his stick in the ground. The next day, when he got up, he came out of his hut and saw with wonder a sumptuous palm tree covered with leaves and dates in the very place where he had placed his humble piece of wood the day before.
It was then that Saint Christopher became the patron saint of travellers and soldiers.
Prayer for Saint Christopher
Saint Christopher, we come to you to thank you for your faith and dedication to Jesus Christ.
We thank you for leading the travellers safely on their way, and for helping the pilgrims to cross the dangerous waters.
We ask you to protect us from all evil, and to guide us on our journey through life.
We ask you to give us the strength and perseverance to keep going even when difficulties arise.
We ask you to help us find peace and reconciliation, following the example of your faith in Jesus Christ.
We thank you for all the blessings you have given us and we entrust our lives and souls to you.