Edmund was an English king who lived in the ninth century. He became king when he was only fourteen. Yet his high position did not make him proud or conceited. Instead, he took as his model the Old Testament king, David. Edmund tried to serve God as well as David had. In fact, Edmund even learned David's psalms by heart. The psalms are beautiful hymns of praise to God contained in the Holy Bible.
King Edmund governed wisely, showing kindness to all his subjects. When Danish barbarians invaded his land, he fought them bravely. Their army was much larger than his. At last, the English king was captured. The barbarian leader offered to spare Edmund's life if he would agree to certain terms. But since these terms were opposed to his country and his religion, the king refused. He declared he would never save his life by offending God and his people. In anger, the pagan chief condemned him to death.
St. Edmund was tied to a tree and then cruelly whipped. The holy king took it all patiently, calling on Jesus for strength. Next, his torturers shot arrows into every part of his body. They were careful not to hit any vital organ, so his sufferings would be prolonged. At last he was beheaded. King Edmund died in 870.
Devotion to St. Edmund the martyr became very popular in England. Many churches were dedicated in his honor.
Let us pray today for the courage to be faithful followers of Christ, in everything that we do.