St. Ignatius of Antioch

We have today in the Office of Readings an section of St. Ignatius’ letter to the church of Smyrna. St. Ignatius is one of the very first Patristic writers, having most probably known the apostles personally, and thus is the first generation of Christian theologians and pastors. He was a bishop and a martyr for the faith.

What I found interesting in his letter was how succinct he presents the faith to the people of Smyrna, and how untarnished it has been preserved for over two thousand years. 

My translation from the Italian.

“I have seen in fact that you are founded on an unshakeable faith, as you have been nailed, body and spirit, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how you are filled with love in the blood of Christ.  You believe firmly in our Lord Jesus Christ, you believe that he truly descended ‘from the line of David according to the flesh’ (Rom 1: 3) and is the son of God according to the will and power of God; that he was truly born of a virgin; that he was baptized by John to fulfill all justice (cf. Mt 3: 15); that he was truly nailed to a cross for us in the flesh under Pontius Pilate and the tetrarch Herod. We in fact are the fruit of his cross and his blessed passion. You have firm faith besides that with his resurrection he has raised for all ages his banner to reunite his saints and his faithful, be they Jews or Gentiles, in one body of his Church. 

“He suffered his passion for us, so we might be saved; he really suffered just as he really raised himself from the dead.

“I know and believe firmly also that after the resurrection he was in his body. And when he showed himself to Peter and his companions, he said to them, ‘Touch me and feel me and see that I am not a spirit without a body’ (cf. Lk 24: 39). Immediately after they touched him, they believed in the reality of his body and spirit.”

I especially am struck by the sentence, “We are in fact the fruit of his cross and his blessed passion.”

May we find in the cross the hope of our glory, the source of our salvation.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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