Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
Good Jesus, hear me
Within the wounds, shelter me
from turning away, keep me
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
Into your presence lead me
to praise you with all your saints
Forever and ever
Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Feast Day is October 17
The letters of the Christian bishop St. Ignatius of Antioch (died ca. 115) are an important source of knowledge about the early Church.
Ignatius was overseer (bishop) of the Christians in Antioch in Syria during one of the persecutions that broke out while Trajan was emperor. When Ignatius was arrested, he refused to acknowledge the official gods and, not being a Roman citizen, was sentenced to die in the amphitheater in Rome. The soldiers with whom he traveled to Rome allowed him to visit some of the Christian communities along the way. The letters he sent to these groups before he died reveal many of Christianity's ideals in the early 2d century.
Ignatius was concerned that the Christian community remain united and that it preserve the faith handed down by the Apostles. He saw the pastor of the community, the bishop, as the leader of this unity in faith. "Do nothing without the bishops and presbyters," he wrote. "It is not lawful apart from the bishops either to baptize or to hold a love-feast."
Ignatius's letters also reflected the growing influence of Greek philosophical concerns over the inevitability of death. Ignatius was convinced that Christian baptism brought about a new life in Christ and that this life was eternal unless it was frustrated by sin. Because martyrdom was a way to overcome the sins committed since baptism, Ignatius wanted to be martyred in order to enter more quickly into eternal life with Christ. He said that if the animals in the amphitheater were not hungry he would urge them on. "Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am ground by the wild beasts that I may be found the pure bread of Christ," he wrote to the Christians in Rome.
Some of Ignatius's language had the ring of the Greek mystery religions about it. He called the Eucharist the "mystery" of Christ's body and blood and said it was "the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death." The Eucharist, he wrote, is a spiritual food which strengthens the one who receives it and helps him into eternal life.
Ignatius was an intelligent and articulate leader who would rather die than compromise his faith. The Roman officials saw him as a disruptive influence in an empire which valued the pagan religious rites of Rome as a politically unifying force. Christians have considered Ignatius of Antioch a Father of the Church.
Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 1 Oct. 2012