Today is the Feast Day of probably my favourite Early Church Father, St. Ignatius of Antioch:
Office Of Readings
Today in the Office of Readings we read a section of one of the letters he wrote on his way to martyrdom sometime around AD 107:
“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.” – Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans
Early Church Relationships
Here is a diagram showing the relationships between Jesus, His Apostles, Ignatius of Antioch and some of the other Early Church Fathers:
Want to know more?
If you would like to read more of St. Ignatius’ writings, or listen to them free on MP3, be sure to check out the Patristics section of this blog.