Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Readings: EPH 2:1-10; PS 100:1B-2, 3, 4AB, 4C-5; LK 12:13-21
Notes: Two items to keep in mind. Ignatius of Antioch gives us an early glimpse of the Church. He is known as an Apostolic Father because he was a hearer of the Apostle John. He is a true bridge between the Apostolic Age and the Early Fathers being second after Saint Peter as Bishop of Antioch and known to be in the listeners of Saint John.
In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius, Bishop, would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome (FM below).
Saint Ignatius of Antioch gives us early proof of the Eucharistic devotion and dogma.
- He fought heresy/schismatics.
- Preached Jesus Christ, God and Man, Body and Soul.
- He held Trinitarian theology, nascent.
- He willingly died for the faith.
- He was in Eucharistic love:
Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons (Letter to the Philadelphians, 3, 2).
Saint Ignatius of Antioch had a significant love of deacons. In his seven letters he made of point of saying the same, four examples:
- Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in place of God… and with the deacons, who are most dear to me (Letter to the Magnesians, 6, 1).
- In like manner, let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ (Letter to the Teallians, 2,1).
- I cried out while I was in your midst… “Give head to the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons.” (Letter to the Philadelphians, 7, 1).
- Reverence your deacons as you would the command of God (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8, 1).
The Faith of the Early Fathers, William A. Jurges, The Liturgical Press, 1970.
Ignatius’ great concern was for the unity and order of the Church. Even greater was his willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny Christ. He did not draw attention to his own suffering, but to the love of God which strengthened him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.
The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.
I cannot begin to count the number of people that define their relationships by the possessions given by the Others in their life.
In the secular world and in the Church, people spend their efforts and energy in good things stored up for many years, and to rest, eat, drink, be merry!
- The Harvest is from God.
- The sharing is a participation in the divine life.
- The receiving is with gratitude, not merely a smaller barn and storehouse!
Peace be with you,
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