Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: October 15, 2018

 
This Wednesday evening, at 6:30pm, we will gather together for our first Sacred Meal Dinner of the fall season! A small group of us will break bread and sit together, pray together, and remember that first meal that Jesus had where he instituted what we now call the Mass. By doing something so seemingly small, we will pray for the world and humble ourselves as Christian Catholics.
 
Ironically, this event happens to fall on the day we also remember Saint Ignatius of Antioch. Saint Ignatius may not be well known, but he converted to Christianity after being born in Syria and eventually became bishop of Antioch. Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.
 

Ignatius is most known for the seven letters he wrote on his long journey from Antioch to Rome, where he would meet his own death bravely met the lions in the Circus Maximus. Five of his letters were to churches in Asia Minor wherein he urged the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their superiors. His sixth letter was to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was also later martyred for the faith. And his final letter begs the Christians in Rome not to try to stop his martyrdom. He stated, “The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ.”

Ignatius’ main concern was for the greater Church, not himself. Even greater was his willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny Jesus as his Christ. Ignatius did not draw attention to his own suffering, but to the love of God which strengthened him.

St Francis once said, “Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these, they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.”

Ignatius knew this to be true, even as he journeyed to his own certain death.

How might we die ‘small deaths’ daily so that the church and God’s work might be better accomplished? Is there something we can give up that will make another’s life better? Can we die to the world in some small way, giving up something we might find to be insignificant, but to another might bring life itself?

 


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