Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

6/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals. 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 know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: evangelization, Pope Francis, gospel, martyrs, witnesses, new missionary age, missions, Fr. Randy Sly, Jesus Movement, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The second Bishop of Antioch, Syria, this disciple of the beloved Disciple John was consecrated Bishop around the year 69 by the Apostle Peter, the first Pope. We remember this hero of the faith on October 17th every year in the Catholic Liturgical calendar.

He was deeply loved by the Christian faithful and made it his special care to defend "orthodoxy" (right teaching) and "orthopraxy" (right practice) among the early Christians. Along with all of the early fathers of the Christian Church, he took seriously the charge from the Apostle Paul to Timothy to "guard the deposit of faith". (2 Tim. 1:4) Even a little bad teaching on what it means to live for Jesus is like a little poison.

In 107, during the reign of the brutal Emperor Trajan, this holy Bishop was wrongfully sentenced to death because he refused to renounce the Christian faith. The culture into which these early Christians were sent as missionaries were sent into was not unlike our own. The task they had from the Lord was the same as our own, to set men and women free by presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You see, we are the ones who bear the message of true progress, the message of the Gospel.

This courageous and holy Bishop was taken under armed guard to Rome where he was to be brutally devoured by wild beasts in a public spectacle. During his journey, his travels took him through Asia Minor and Greece. It was an arduous and exhausting trip. He could have turned inward, given over to despair and let the fire of faith dim. Instead, he made good use of the time by writing seven letters of encouragement, instruction and inspiration to the Christians in those communities. These letters were circulated among the faithful and brought them tremendous encouragement to live their Christian faith with heroism.

We still have these letters as a great treasure of the Church today. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html They were treasured by the early Christians and should be read by those of us who continue their work in this urgent hour.

As a young man, my own discovery of these beautiful letters opened my own eyes to the historic roots of the teachings of the Catholic Church. They had a significant role in helping me on my journey home to the Church of my childhood.

The content of the letters addressed the hierarchy and structure of the Church as well as the content of the orthodox Christian faith. It was Bishop Ignatius who first used the term "catholic" to describe the whole Church.

These letters connect us to the early Church and the unbroken, clear teaching of the Apostles which was given to them directly by Jesus Christ. They also reveal the holiness of a man of God who became himself a living letter of Christ.

The shedding his blood in the witness of holy martyrdom was the culmination of a life lived conformed to Jesus Christ. The word martyr means witness. The Bishop of Antioch was a witness his entire life. He offered himself, in Jesus Christ, for the sake of the Church which he loved. His holy martyrdom occurred in the year 107.

In his pastoral letters he regularly thanked his brother and sister Christians for their concern for his well being but insisted on following through in his final witness of fidelity:

"I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us."

Bishop Ignatius was not afraid of mortal death. He knew that it had been defeated by the Master. He followed the Lord Jesus into his Passion, knowing that he would rise with Him in his Resurrection.

He wrote to the disciples in Rome: "Permit me to imitate my suffering God ... I am God's wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ." The beauty of this Eucharistic symbolism in these words reflects the deep theology of a mystic.

He was dedicated to defending the true teaching handed down by the Apostles so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, and we who stand on their shoulders, would never be led astray by false teaching.

He urged them to always listen to their Bishops because they were the successors of the Apostles. He died a Martyrs death in Rome, devoured by two lions in one of the cruel demonstrations of Roman excess and animosity toward the true faith. Anticipating this event he wrote these inspired words:

A letter to the Romans by St Ignatius of Antioch "I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals. 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.

The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God's side. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world. Do not harbor envious thoughts. And supposing I should see you, if then I should beg you to intervene on my behalf, do not believe what I say.

Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you - still - my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: "Come to the Father." I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world. I want only God's bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed of the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish.

I am no longer willing to live a merely human life, and you can bring about my wish if you will. Please, then, do me this favour, so that you in turn may meet with equal kindness. Put briefly, this is my request: believe what I am saying to you. Jesus Christ himself will make it clear to you that I am saying the truth. Only truth can come from that mouth by which the Father has truly spoken.

Pray for me that I may obtain my desire. I have not written to you as a mere man would, but as one who knows the mind of God. If I am condemned to suffer, I will take it that you wish me well. If my case is postponed, I can only think that you wish me harm."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Living Faith

'Woman's thought is important': Pope Francis on women deacons Watch

Image of Pope Francis was upset at how the media construed women deacons (WordPress).

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis told journalists on Sunday that he was somewhat angered when reports emerged that the Church was allegedly paving the way for the ordination of women to the diaconate, since no such change is in the works. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "The first ... continue reading


'Let us make up for our shortcomings in harmony and charity': Pope Francis to Catholicos Karekin II Watch

Image of Pope Francis works with the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos Karekin II to offer prayers (Paul Haring/CNS).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Working toward full communion is a project of love, humility and peace, Pope Francis told Armenian Orthodox leaders gathered at an ecumenical meeting on Saturday. Yerevan, Armenia (CNA/EWTN News) - "With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already ... continue reading


'Immense tragedy': Pope Francis on broken families Watch

Image of Pope Francis prays for broken families (Pinterest).

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

In a joint declaration signed Sunday, Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II expressed their shared belief that, when the family is no longer seen as sacred, it falls into crisis. Yerevan, Armenia (CNA/EWTN News) - "The secularization of large sectors of society, its ... continue reading


'I remember feeling the weight of the world': The price of following Christ in a secular world Watch

Image of Catholic pharmacist refuses to sell abortion drugs (drugs.com).

By Loredana Vuoto (CNA/EWTN News)

Every morning, Greg Stormans contemplates a Bible verse perched in a tiny frame above his bathroom sink, which his daughter handwrote: "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24) Olympia, WA (CNA/EWTN News) - This verse ... continue reading


God's miracles can be found everywhere - even a sketchbook Watch

Image of Yan Xu's art helped her grow close to the Church (Yan Xu).

By Andrea Gagliarducci and Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

Yan Xu is an artist from the central China city of Wuhan. What she drew one day would change her life. Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - Confused about her future after resigning from a job in 2003, she found herself at an unlikely place."At that time, I used to carry a ... continue reading


WATCH as an abortionist REVELS in his work and says he LOVES what he does Watch

Image of This abortionist is proud of his evil work.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A pro-life activist has confronted an abortionist only to receive sarcasm in reply. The incident underscores the callous and flippant attitude the people in the abortion industry have. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - According to Life Site News, an abortionist ... continue reading


'Thou shalt not kill': Pope Francis talks the death penalty Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks out against capitol punishment (thenewstribe).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

In a video message sent Wednesday to a gathering of advocates for abolition of the death penalty, Pope Francis welcomed their efforts as a way to promote the right to life of all persons. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "Nowadays the death penalty is ... continue reading


'I'm so glad that Elizabeth has been recognized': Who was Elizabeth of the Trinity? Watch

Image of Elizabeth of the Trinity.

By Carl Bunderson (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis has announced the canonization date of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun of the 20th century who will be formally recognized as a saint October 16. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - In March, the Pope had acknowledged a miracle worked ... continue reading


'I will change your life': Christ is the only way to true conversion Watch

Image of Pope Francis claims authentic conversion can only come from Christ (Ourladyofthesun).

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

Recognizing the needs of others is a sign of genuine conversion, which only happens when the heart is ready to be changed by Jesus, Pope Francis said Saturday. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "True conversion happens when we welcome the gift of grace," the Pope ... continue reading


Something 'can happen if people reach out to them': LA deacon serves those who need love Watch

Image of LA deacon serves the forgotten (egpnews).

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA/EWTN News)

For the estimated 5,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, parish participation can be difficult. LOS ANGELES, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - From homilies to retreats, normal Church events can be inaccessible to those with auditory ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Just like Hilter! Davos men want one European government NOW
  • Prayer in Time of Bereavement HD Video
  • St. Irenaeus: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 28, 2016
  • St Irenaeus of Lyon Teaches Us How to Know God
  • The Vindication of Governor Bob McDonnell, Persevering Faith and the ...
  • Prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12
1 Listen, Israelites, to this prophecy which Yahweh pronounces against ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 5:4-6, 6-7, 8
4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, no sinner can be your ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat followed by his disciples.24 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 28th, 2016 Image

St. Irenaeus
June 28: The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a ... Read More