King Genseric of the Vandals may have been lame and on the short and stocky side, but what he lacked physically, he made up for in being a genius military strategist and it was his bloodthirsty battle plans that led to his people, the Vandals and barbarians conquering a great part of Roman Africa and the sack of Rome in 455 when he ransacked the city for her treasures. Genseric was a Machiavellian politician and he had a tyrannical rule over enemies, but also of his friends. His religion was Arianism, and when one of his trusted admirers, the Count of Armogasto converted from Arianism and became Catholic, Genseric was less than pleased. 

The Count had been a close buddy of Genseric. But Genseric was furious that the Count had become a member of the Church that had been dominant religious powerhouse before he plundered Rome. At first, Genseric tried to persuade the Count to return to Arianism, and when his tactics failed, he resorted to torturing the Count. He ordered for the Count to be bound as tightly as possible with cords. When the Count was clinched in these cords, he uttered the Holy Name about three times, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus", and suddenly the cords disintegrated and fell to the ground. 

This caused Genseric to have a childish temper tantrum, and next he ordered that the long ligaments from a dead ox be taken, which are like cable, and used to bind the Count. The King's lynchers did as they were told and tried to tie the Count with the ox's ligaments, but to no avail. The Count called on the Name of Jesus and the ligaments snapped like strands of hair. Genseric was incandescent with anger and he commanded that the Count be strung up to a tree by his feet, with his head pointed downwards. When he was so tied, the Count's lips curled into a smile and he repeated the Holy Name and fell into a peaceful sleep. 

Happily January is the month devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus. I wish you all a joy-filled January. 

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This post was informed by Fr Paul O'Sullivan's The Wonders of the Holy Name which you may buy in the Spirit Daily bookstore. 

The classic painting of the sack of Rome was executed by Karl Briullov. 


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