Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Billy Atwell

10/17/2010 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A needed model for our times of total love of God

In the face of the current "witch-hunts" endured by some of our Bishops, let us remember a hero on October 17, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is a bishop and martyr of the Church who died in the year 107.  He was torn apart by wild beasts for refusing to deny the True God as part of a public spectacle under the sentence of the pagan Emperor Trajan. His example should inspire us all as we face hostility to the faith in our own age.

One of many icons of St. Ignatius of Antioch

One of many icons of St. Ignatius of Antioch

Highlights

By Billy Atwell

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/17/2010 (3 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: saints, heroes, holiness, bishop, catholic, bravery


WASHINGTON DC (Catholic Online) - We live in a time, especially in the United States of America, where Christian bravery seems to be unpopular at best. This is not new. Even when I was younger I felt that too often Christians ignored their responsibilities when the times were tough, and that some leaders within the Catholic Church, even among the clergy, were unwilling to move beyond their comfort zone and do what was best for those entrusted to their care.

The sanctity of life, the truth and dignity of marriage, religious liberty, and other truths which the Catholic Church proclaims and defends are under assault. Understandably, Catholics look to their leadership for direction. Unfortunately, many people point to inaction from Catholic leaders. Too few acknowledge the brave and courageous efforts of many American Bishops. 

While reflecting on the unjust' witch-hunts' that misdirect our attention and waste our time, I remembered that October 17, is the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is a bishop and martyr of the Church who died in the year 107.  He was torn apart by wild beasts as a public spectacle under the sentence of Emperor Trajan, known for his particularly brutal ways. 

The charge against Ignatius was one that he wore proudly.  In the ninth year of Trajan's reign, he declared that everyone, including Christians, must bow and worship along side their pagan neighbors.  Ignatius was unwilling to acknowledge any "god" of a pagan empire. He stayed faithful to the source of his strength, the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Ignatius was sentenced by the emperor himself, which was uncommon.  Usually such duties were delegated to individuals of a lower political stature, but Ignatius posed a direct confrontation to the emperor's edicts.  This direct refutation of the emperor's edict was insulting to the emperor, but the fact that Ignatius was a Bishop of the Christian Church made it especially important for the emperor to make an example of him-an example that Ignatius was more than willing to make.  He welcomed the opportunity to give his body over as a sacrifice to God.

St. Peter, the first Pope, consecrated Ignatius as Bishop around the year 69.  Ignatius was well-known for his teaching and practice of the faith. It was that Catholic Christian faith which informed and inspired his rejection of Trajan's order to have him worship anything other than the true God, the One he believed in. 

As popular and revered as Ignatius' willing death for the sake of Jesus is, he is more widely known for the writings he left in his journey from Antioch to Rome, where he was killed.  Along his journey as a prisoner, he wrote many documents and left them with the Christian communities along the way.  He not only addressed the teachings of the Church to inspire in the local believers to live lives dedicated to our Lord, but also the nature of his upcoming death.  In one of his final writings, he wrote to the Romans, "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.  Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God."

The image of having one's bones ground into God's wheat is graphic and unsettling, but so is the Christian life at times.  Living as a Christian sometimes requires great sacrifice, but the glory of heaven is certainly worth the trivial offerings we make to our Lord.  Even the giving of our own lives pales in comparison to the death of Christ on the cross. He was without sin and totally good.  Yet, He emptied Himself on our behalf. He loved us enough to die for us.  So, He has left us an example. The Saints and martyrs understand and show us the path to follow. Ignatius recognized that even  martyrdom, though it is the greatest love we can show, still requires God's grace. It is that grace which can make us the ground wheat of His pure bread. 

As a high schooler researching saints that I admired and wanted to model my life after, I could not help but be seriously drawn to St. Ignatius of Antioch.  I chose him for my confirmation name.  His fervent desire for truth and his love for God and His people, even if that meant being ravaged by wild beasts, was something that I wanted to be capable of.  I still want that capability. 

As you go about your day, think about the great sacrifice St. Ignatius of Antioch made for our Lord.  Then examine your own life and discern whether or not you have the courage of this holy bishop.  If not, begin to make small changes on the way to holiness.  Also, pray for our present-day bishops.  Pray that they might have the courage to stand in the face of adversity and love the Lord as much as our great bishops and martyrs of the past.
-----
Billy Atwell contributes to Catholic Online, and blogs for The Point and the Manhattan Declaration. As a young lay Catholic and two-time cancer survivor he offers commentary on faith, culture, and politics. You can find all of his writings at For the Greater Glory.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

St Therese of the Child Jesus: In the Heart of the Church I Will Be Love Watch

Image of Perhaps one of the most beloved saints of the Catholic Church,Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) had wisdom beyond any formal learning which came from the depth of her interior life

By St Therese of Lisieux

O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its ... continue reading


The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading


Pope Cornelius and Bishop Cyprian are Examples for this Age of Martyrs Watch

Image of The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever. Amen.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge. Let us be armed with a great ... continue reading


Feast of St Augustine of Hippo: Defender of Truth Watch

Image of St. Augustine:

By F. K. Bartels

If there is any message which can be drawn from St. Augustine's life, and there are many, it is the message of repentance and conversion. This is a message the world desperately needs to hear today. It is one of heartfelt dedication to Christ as Master, Teacher and ... continue reading


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Reminds Us that 'Love Is Sufficient of Itself' Watch

Image of Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

By Deacon F.K. Bartels

It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the ... continue reading


Saint Clare Shows Us How The Path of Simplicity Can Lead To A Greater Love for Christ

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

We learn from St. Clare both the importance of giving one's life to Christ as well as the sublime, eternal rewards of doing so. When we leave the fleeting, temporary created objects of the world behind, no longer placing our trust in them or seeing them as inordinately ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


Memorial of Ignatius of Loyola, Priest: We are all Called to Become Saints Watch

Image of On July 31st we remember the founder of the Company or Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron saint of soldiers and of retreatants. There is a connection. He was a soldier and the Spiritual Exercise which he left us have been used for hundreds of years to help men and women like us encounter Jesus Christ, on retreats, and in our daily lives. The disciplines they promote can help us to grow in holiness of life, no matter what our state in life, and equip us for service in the Army of the King, Jesus Christ.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading


Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Chains of Love Watch

Image of Alphonsus Liguori, is the founder of the Redemptorist community. n the constitution of the community we read these words: Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of St. Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. (Constitution #20)

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since God knew that man is enticed by favors, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: - I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.And all the gifts which he ... continue reading


In the Major Legend, St. Bonaventure Points us to St Francis - and the Lord Jesus Christ Watch

Image of Bonaventure was a friend and a disciple of Francis. When he looked at Francis he saw Jesus Christ. Bonaventure, like his friend Francis, was also a mystic. To him the Spirit of Francis is the Spirit of Jesus and

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter