Forty solders of Sebaste had refused to sacrifice to idols. The governor ordered them exposed overnight on an icy pond. There they prayed and asked that as they were forty in the arena, they would be forty as well in receiving the palm of martyrdom. But one of them lost courage and threw himself into the hot bath that had been prepared next to them to try these generous confessors of the Faith. Alas! He died there immediately. The others remained more determined than ever to die for Jesus Christ. They exhorted one another when, at the third hour of the night, a great light appeared on the lake and angels descended from Heaven with crowns to place upon the heads of these heroic martyrs. One of the guards was divinely inspired, the story tells us, took the place of he who had failed.
From the testimony of Saint Ephrem, deacon of church of Edessa, it was Saint Michael who came to console the forty martyrs and soften the rigor of their torments.
O Saint Michael, Consoling Angel of afflicted souls, give us your strength and your efficacious protection in our trials. Teach us to suffer with resignation and through love of God. Bring down on us the graces and blessings of Heaven, so that we may bear in a Christ-like way the pains and sorrows of life and that we may deserve the reward promised by Jesus Christ to those who suffer with Him and for Him. Amen.