When St. Ignatius of Antioch was a child he sat on Our Lord's knee.


Wednesday, 10/17/12

On October 17 each year we recall the heroism and the teaching of St. Ignatius of  Antioch. That was a city two hundred miles north of Jerusalem. Ignatius followed St. Peter and one other as Antioch’s bishop, and it is said that when Ignatius was a child he sat on Our Lord’s knee.

Around the year one hundred there was a public Roman occasion in Antioch to which Ignatius was invited. All went well until each of the dignitaries was obliged to take part in burning incense to the Roman gods. The governor, seeing it as a small show of patriotism, begged Ignatius to sprinkle on a little incense, but he refused. The matter was necessarily reported to Emperor Trajan, and he reluctantly decided that the refusal was tantamount to treason, and Ignatius had to be brought to Rome to be thrown to the lions.

Ignatius was bound to the mast of a coastal schooner which slowly made its way from port to port to Rome. At each of seven ports the Christians came down and visited with him, and when Ignatius reached the port of Troas he penned letters back to the Christians in those seven ports. He wrote as well to John’s disciple, Polycarp; and he sent a letter ahead to the Christians in Rome.

All nine of his letters are valuable to us in that they show us how Christianity was carried on the generation after the Apostles. His Letter t the Christians in Rome is touching in that he begged them not use I any influence to save his life. He saw himself as raw grain that needed to be ground by the teeth of the lions to become  flour worthy to become part of the Bread which is Christ. 

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