17 Oct 2013

October 17th - St Ignatius of Antioch

Dame Catherine Wybourne OSB makes the point today on her FB page that St Ignatius of Antioch (whose feastday is today) is too little known (other than by scholars and weird people like clergy, monks and nuns,etc) but he has interesting and important things to say about the nature of the Church, the sacraments, etc.

His letters are well worth reading, and not nearly as difficult as some. Here is useful an online resource in case you'd like to know more HERE.
He was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to Rome, where according to Christian tradition he met his martyrdom by being fed to wild beasts, he wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

You can read more about him HERE and HERE.

For our liturgical memory of Saint Ignatius of Antioch a portion of the saint’s Letter to the Romans.

I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.

No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.

The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. Do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. If you have him in your heart, you will understand what I wish. You will sympathize with me because you will know what urges me on.

Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Office of Readings from a Letter to the Romans
Thursday, 28th Week Through the Year

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