Friday, 17 October 2008

Today is also the Feast of St Ignatius of Antioch

St Ignatius was martyred in 107.

There may be worse ways to be killed, but I can't think of many...The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

From Fr Ray Blake of St Mary Magdalen's Church

The second bishop of Antioch after St Peter, sentenced to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena, sent to Rome suffered death their under Trajan in 107.

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

Pray to St Ignatius that priests and bishops will prefer death than denying their Lord in deed or word or thought, or by one act of mortal sin.

From The Ecclesiology of St Ignatus of Antioch

For Ignatius man does not have life of himself. Only God is self-life (autozoe). Man lives be participation. Because man is held captive in death by the devil his communion with God is of a distorted nature and ends in the grave. The act of restoration of permanent and normal communion between God and man can be accomplished only by a real resurrection of man by God Himself. (Ezek. 37:12ff.) "Who alone hath immortality." (I Tim. 6:16.) This immortality of God, however, is not to be separated in its bestowal upon creation, from God's energy of love. Therefore, "the drink of God, namely His Blood, ... is incorruptible love and eternal life." (Ign. Rom. 7.) The love of God is not a relationship (to pros ti) dominated by ulterior motivations. If God were within the realm of happiness and so dominated thereby, then all His relationships, if such could really exist, would be necessary. [ 6 ]

The life of God the Father, however, who by essence generates the Son and projects the Spirit, is personal and selfless love, which by grace and in complete freedom through the Son and in the Spirit creates ex nihilo, sustains, saves, and sanctifies creation, not by created means, but by His own uncreated energy. Salvation is not a mere restoration of proper relations between God and man. On the contrary man is saved by being restored to life which is given to created beings only by God. Saving grace, therefore, is the very uncreated life-giving energy of God which vivifies and justifies man by defeating the devil. [ 7 ] The flesh of Christ is the source of life and justification [ 8 ] not as flesh per se, but because it is the flesh of God. It is for this reason that St. Ignatius can say, "I desire the drink of God, namely His Blood." (Ign. Rom. 7; also Eph. 1.) [ 9 ]

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