Sunday, April 8, 2012

St. Timothy and Stomach Disorders

Q. I read that St. Timothy is the patron saint of those with stomach disorders. Why is that particular need associated with him?

I.T., Casper, Wyo.

A. St. Timothy, who shares a feast day today with St. Titus, was a young disciple of St. Paul; the Apostle apparently loved and trusted him deeply. He is mentioned as a friend and companion of Paul in a number of biblical passages (see, for example, Acts 16:1; Romans 16:21; 1 Corinthians 4:17), and the two books of the New Testament that carry his name (1 and 2 Timothy) are letters addressed to him from St. Paul.

According to the ancient Roman Martyrology, St. Timothy became bishop of Ephesus, and he died in his eighties after being beaten by pagan attackers.

In his first letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul advised him: “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23). No doubt Timothy’s role as patron saint of those with stomach disorders developed as a result of this biblical passage. He knows from personal experience what we’re up against when we have stomach problems!

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