"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

St. Ignatius on Unity

Today is the memorial of Saint Ignatius bishop of Antioch. He was martyred by Emperor Trajan in 107 AD. The following selection was in last week's readings in the Liturgy of the Hours. It is from Saint Ignatius' letter to the Philadelphians:

"I greet you in the blood of Jesus Christ. You are my abiding and unshakable joy, especially if your members remain united with the bishop and with his presbyters and deacons, all appointed in accordance with the mind of Christ who by His own will has strengthened them in the firmness which the Spirit gives. ... As sons of the light of truth, flee divisions and evil doctrines; where your shepherd is, follow him as his flock. For all who belong to God and Jesus Christ are with the bishop; all who repent and return to the unity of the Church will also belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ. Do not be deceived, my brothers. If anyone follows a schismatic, he will not obtain the inheritance of God's kingdom; if anyone lives by an alien teaching, he does not assent to the passion of the Lord. Be careful, therefore, to take part only in the one eucharist; for there is only one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us with His blood, one altar and one bishop with the presbyters and deacons, who are his fellow servants. Then, whatever you do, you will do according to God."

Saint Ignatius, please pray that all Christians would follow the rightful bishop of their diocese, so that we might all partake of the one eucharist, in order that we may be perfected in unity.

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