Today (Friday the 17th) is the feastday of St. Ignatius of Antioch. I hope you’ll take some time to read a bit of the letters of the martyr-bishop who was fed to the beasts in the early 2nd century. He wrote several, to the communities through which he passed as he was being taken in chains from Antioch to Rome.
The letters center on a few themes: the unity of the Church, the role of the bishop, the Eucharist, warning against heresies, and, of course, martyrdom. It’s good, vivid, bracing stuff.
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 sympathise with me because you will know what urges me on.
Overall, it is possible to grasp in the Letters of Ignatius a sort of constant and fruitful dialectic between two characteristic aspects of Christian life: on the one hand, the hierarchical structure of the Ecclesial Community, and on the other, the fundamental unity that binds all the faithful in Christ.
Consequently, their roles cannot be opposed to one another. On the contrary, the insistence on communion among believers and of believers with their Pastors was constantly reformulated in eloquent images and analogies: the harp, strings, intonation, the concert, the symphony. The special responsibility of Bishops, priests and deacons in building the community is clear.
This applies first of all to their invitation to love and unity. “Be one”, Ignatius wrote to the Magnesians, echoing the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper: “one supplication, one mind, one hope in love…. Therefore, all run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one” (7: 1-2).
The rest of this post will be super short and random. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll have more substance next week.
So..this was an interesting article – from the coming Sunday’s NYTimes magazine: it’s about the practice of begging in the predominantly Orthodox Jewish town of Lakewood, New Jersey.
More New York stuff. This was an hilarious article in The New Yorker by a writer attempting to see how outrageously she could game the “emotional support animal” world. Turtle? Alpaca? Not even kidding.
Remember, since it’s October, that means it’s Rosary month. Perhaps you’d like a free e-book on Mary?
I’ll have a couple of interviews on it over the next couple of weeks – I’ll let you know when they come on.
No field trips this week. However, this weekend, the older boy is going on a scout thing to Mammoth Cave. Michael and I will be staying around here, but we will be going on a jaunt….fossil hunting! We are to take hammers, screwdrivers and a box for our finds….this is serious, I guess…..
Synod? Well, sure I have…thoughts. After it’s over, I’ll jot some of them down. I mean, honestly, why waste time with pronouncements today when everything is going to change tomorrow…or during the next hour? Sheesh, what a circus.
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