Even as the traditional Roman Martyrology yesterday commemorated the heavenly birthday of the prophet St. Malachias, so today the Martyrology again marks the holy deaths of two other Old Testament saints. Heading the list of this day's saints are St. Paul, the first hermit, followed by the abbot St. Maur, disciple of St. Benedict. Third in order for This Day, the Fifteenth of January, we read:
In Judaea, the holy prophets Habacuc and Michaeas, whose bodies were found by divine revelation in the days of Theodosius the Elder.
St. Ambachoum (Habacuc)
The writings of these two saints are grouped among the "Minor Prophets" of the Old Testament. St. Habacuc ("Habakkuk", Hebrew Chabhaqquq, said to mean "ardent embrace") prophesied during the last years of the Kingdom of Judah, and according to tradition his life extended for almost the entire length of the Babylonian Captivity (587-540 B.C.). St. Micheas ("Micah," Hebrew Mikah, a diminutive form of Mikayahu, meaning "Who is like unto the Lord?") was a contemporary of St. Isaias, exercising his prophetic ministry during the reign of holy King Ezekias of Judah in the 700s B.C. The first century A.D. Jewish work known as The Lives of the Prophets records several remarkable legends about Habacuc and Micheas. Below are the legends of St. Habacuc (emphasis added), followed by comments on his life and ministry, after which the legends of St. Micheas will be presented with comments on his prophetic office.
He was from the tribe of Simeon, of the field of Beth-zachariah.
Before the captivity he had a vision of the destruction of Jerusalem, and he grieved exceedingly. When Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, he fled to Ostracina (in Egypt), and then sojourned in the land of Ishmael.
When the Chaldeans returned (to their country), and all those who were left in Jerusalem went down to Egypt, he settled again in his own land. He was accustomed to carry food to the reapers of the harvest in his field; and one day, as he received the food, he announced to his family: "I am off for a far country, but will return immediately; if I should delay, carry out the food to the reapers." Finding himself straightway in Babylon, and having given Daniel his meal, he stood by the reapers as they ate; and he told no one what had happened.
He had knowledge that the people would soon come back from Babylon. Two years before the return he died, and was buried alone in his own field.
He gave a sign to the people in Judea, that they would see in the temple a light shining, and thus they would know the glory of the sanctuary. Concerning the end of the temple, he foretold that it would be brought to pass by a western nation. Then, he said, the veil of the inner sanctuary will be torn to pieces, and the capitals of the two pillars will be taken away, and no one will know where they are; but they will be carried away by angels into the wilderness where in the beginning the Tabernacle of Witness was pitched. By them in the end the presence of the Lord will be made known, for they will give light to those who are pursued by the Serpent in darkness as at the beginning.