Thrown to the Lions
St. Ignatius of Antioch( bishop and martyr) was an important bishop who suffered martyrdom early in the second century.
He was born in Syria. According to legend, he was the child whom Jesus placed in the midst of His disciples to educate them meeknes( cf. Mt 18:1 -4 ). More reliable are the legends that nation he was a disciple of the apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and/ or St. John.
Ignatius became the second or third bishop of Antioch, an important Syrian city and a major middle of early Christianity. During a abuse when Christians were ordered to deny their sect under sting of death, Ignatius, by then an old boy, refused to do so. He was a well-known Christian, so he was sentenced to die in Rome itself.
On the passage to Rome he was escorted by a crew of soldiers. He referred to them as the” ten leopards ,” and was indicated that their behavior” gets worse the very best they are treated .” During this tyranny, he wrote seven prominent letters or epistles. Six of them were characters of exhortation to numerous Christian parishes, and the seventh was a letter of pastoral suggestion to St. Polycarp( Feast daylight February 23 ), whom he congregated shortly after his arrest.
In his writings Ignatius implored the Christian communities to remain faithful to their bishops, because this was essential to preventing heresy and subdivision, and to keeping the house, the Church, platform strong. In his letter to the Christians of Rome, Ignatius evaded them not to work for his release, for he passionately desired to die as a witness to the faith.
When Ignatius arrived in Rome around the year 107, he was thrown to the lions in the Coliseum, and met his death bravely as a martyr for the Lord and His Church.
From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Reflections to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day
No earthly pleasures , no countries of this world can benefit me in any way. I promote fatality in Christ Jesus to influence over the outermost limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest.
— From a note of St. Ignatius of Antioch
Dear Lord, St. Ignatius of Antioch was ready to be torn apart by a lion rather than to be separated from you. In light of his keennes, my own feeling is so weak. Give me courage and fortitude to exclaim your Truth no matter the cost. Heal me in the regions where I am weak. Fill me with your gues love. And replace me in sect and hope. I pray this in the name of Jesus my Lord. Amen. St. Ignatius, pray for me.
image: Rijksmuseum/ Public domain
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