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Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Feast Day, St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius died a martyr's death in the Roman Coliseum in 115 AD under the persecution of Trajan. He is one of the early Apostolic Fathers and, like St. Paul, wrote numerous letters to the early Church communities around the known world.

As the soldiers took him from Syra to Rome for execution he continued his letters and in one to the Romans urged the Christian not to hinder his martyrdom:
4:1 I write to all the churches, and I bid all men know, that of my own free will I die for God, unless ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be ye not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread [of Christ].

4:2 Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my sepulchre and may leave no part of my body behind, so that I may not, when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one. Then shall I be truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not so much as see my body. Supplicate the Lord for me, that through these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God.
Let us pray that the Lord will give us bishops like St. Ignatius who loved Jesus Christ so zealously and served the flock so faithfully. We desperately need them!

St. Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.

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