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Thursday, October 17, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : THURS. OCT. 17, 2013 - SHARE

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"THE KEY THAT OPENS THE DOOR TO THE FAITH IS PRAYER" - POPE FRANCIS

POPE FRANCIS GIVES GENERAL AUDIENCE - TEXT/VIDEO

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 17: ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH

Vatican Radio REPORT:  If a Christian “becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith.”
This was the theme of Pope Francis’ homily during his Thursday morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. During his homily, the Pope warned Christians against behaving as though the “key is in [their] pocket, and the door closed.” He reiterated that without prayer, one abandons the faith and descends into ideology and moralism. “Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge!” (Luke 11: 52)
Pope Francis referred back to this passage from Thursday’s Gospel in his homily, moving from Jesus’ warning. He warned: “When we are on the street and find ourselves in front of a closed Church,” he said, “we feel that something is strange.” Sometimes, he said, “they give us reasons” as to why they are closed: They give “excuses, justifications, but the fact remains that the Church is closed and the people who pass by cannot enter.” And, even worse, the Lord cannot be close to the people. Today, the Pope said, Jesus speaks to us about the “image of the [lock]”; it is “the image of those Christians who have the key in their hand, but take it away, without opening the door.” Worse still, “they keep the door closed” and “don’t allow anyone to enter.” In so doing, they themselves do not enter. The “lack of Christian witness does this,” he said, and “when this Christian is a priest, a bishop or a Pope it is worse.” But, the Pope asks, how does it happen that a “Christian falls into this attitude” of keeping the key to the Church in his pocket, with the door closed?
“The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”
The Pope continued, Jesus told us: “You burden the shoulders of people [with] many things; only one is necessary.” This, therefore, is the “spiritual, mental” thought process of one who wants to keep the key in his pocket and the door closed:
“The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door.”
“The key that opens the door to the faith,” the Pope added, “is prayer.” The Holy Father warned: “When a Christian does not pray, this happens. And his witness is an arrogant witness.” He who does not pray is “arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement.” Instead, he said, “when a Christian prays, he is not far from the faith; he speaks with Jesus.” And, the Pope said, “I say to pray, I do not say to say prayers, because these teachers of the law said many prayers” in order to be seen. Jesus, instead, says: “when you pray, go into your room and pray to the Father in secret, heart to heart.” The pope continued: “It is one thing to pray, and another thing to say prayers.”
“These do not pray, abandoning the faith and transforming it into moralistic, casuistic ideology, without Jesus. And when a prophet or a good Christian reproaches them, they the same that they did with Jesus: ‘When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him’ – they are ideologically hostile – ‘and to interrogate him about many things,’ – they are insidious – ‘for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.’ They are not transparent. Ah, poor things, they are people dishonoured by their pride. We ask the Lord for Grace, first: never to stop praying to never lose the faith; to remain humble, and so not to become closed, which closes the way to the Lord.”
SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

POPE FRANCIS GIVES GENERAL AUDIENCE - TEXT/VIDEO


October 16, 2013 - Pope Francis held his weekly general audience on Wednesday, speaking about the apostolic character of the Catholic Church. Such audiences are public meetings during which pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome are able see and hear the Pope, and also receive his blessing. The general audience of Oct. 16 was held in the open, in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians in several languages.


Basing himself on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian - summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In the Creed, we profess in faith that the Church is “apostolic”. We can understand this in three ways. First, the Church is apostolic because Jesus founded her upon the Apostles whom he chose and sent forth to continue his work; thus Saint Paul compares the Church to a temple which has the Apostles as its foundation and Christ as its cornerstone (Eph 2:19-20). The Church is also apostolic because she preserves and hands down the fullness of Christ’s teaching and the means of salvation which he instituted. Finally the Church is apostolic because she accomplishes in history the mission which Christ entrusted to the Apostles: making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them his commands (cf. Mt 28:19-20). May we come to appreciate and love the Church as the place where we encounter the Risen Lord, who sends us forth as his missionaries, inviting all whom we meet to know the truth of the Gospel, the joy of faith and the promise of eternal life proclaimed by the Apostles.

Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.

… I cordially greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the delegation from the NATO Defense College and the pilgrims from Norway. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace! (BLESSING) 

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

150 KILLED AND 300 WOUNDED IN PHILIPPINE EARTHQUAKE

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Estimated 300 wounded, while dozens missing . Nassa Executive Secretary tells AsiaNews: "immediate needs are food items in for people in evacuation centers. Serious damage to churches and places of worship , including the century-old minor basilica in Cebu . Catholic activists to help victims, funds from the archdiocese of Manila.


Manila ( AsiaNews) - " We have launched an appeal for assistance [ to the victims ] among our Caritas partners , but it must be done immediately. Among immediate needs are food items in for people in evacuation centers " . This is what Fr . Edwin A. Gariguez , the National Secretariat for Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines ( CBCP - Nassa ), in the forefront of the relief to the earthquake victims tells AsiaNews. On 15 October, a powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 hit the center of the Philippine archipelago , killing 144 people so far , unofficial estimates speak more than 158 dead and , even today, many are still missing. Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey explained that the earthquake struck below the island of Bohol (Central Visayas ) , a region populated and one of the most popular tourist destinations of the country. It has released energy equal to " 32 atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima" and was also felt in Mindanao .

Fr. Edwin , Nassa executive secretary and responsible for the coordination of relief operations at the Catholic institution , sent a first report to AsiaNews, from which the full extent the severity of the damage caused by the earthquake can be seen. In addition to the main quake, within hours there were 725 aftershocks in Cebu , Negros Orental , Davao , Cotabato and north of Mindanao. Meanwhile, the governorship of Bohol has declared a state of calamity.

To date, 23 are still missing, while the number of injured is around 300. The people affected by the earthquake are more than three million , spread among 39 cities and municipalities . 5,992 families are housed in 51 refugee centers , and a first estimate of damage to infrastructure , hospitals , houses and sites of archaeological interest amount to a total of 75.2 million pesos ( 1.8 million dollars).

Among the sites most affected the centuries-old Catholic churches in the region , testimony of the Spanish colonial past and of great historical and architectural value . There are at least ten places of worship that have suffered serious damage in Cebu and Bohol, dating from the sixteenth century. These include the bell tower of limestone of the oldest church in the Philippines, the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu.

In many areas there are power outages and the supply of drinking water has been suspended, particularly in Bohol . Food supplies are dwindling and many markets are closed for lack of products. The Caritas workers also warn of the urgent need for psychologists and experts in trauma, to heal the wounds (even psychological ) inflicted by the earthquake on the population. The government has allocated the army and police to help in the rescue operations and the immediate action pending long-term programs for the restoration of normal activities. To date, Manila has not yet appealed to the international community for foreign aid , wanting to deal with the disaster on its own .

Nassa- Caritas Philippines are coordinating the emergency response in collaboration with the leaders of the two dioceses most affected by the earthquake, Talibon and Bohol . So far they have used local funds where available, but they are no longer sufficient . For this Nassa has already allocated 400 thousand pesos , while various dioceses in the country - including the Archdiocese of Manila - are ready to intervene with a contribution to the relief assistance. ( DS )

SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

ROYAL BABY CARD - ALL INVITED TO SENT BLESSINGS TO WILL AND KATE'S LITTLE GEORGE

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT: 
Send your blessings to baby Prince George | Premier Radio, Prince George
The Christian community is being invited to send their blessings to Prince George and the Royal Family next Wednesday when the Royal baby is Christened at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
Premier Christian Radio, Britain’s largest Christian broadcaster, is asking members of the public to add their names to a giant Christening card at a special website –www.premier.org.uk/princegeorge.
More than 3,000 Christians have already added their signature to the king-sized card which will be delivered to St.James’s Palace by Premier’s CEO, Peter Kerridge, on Tuesday morning 22 October at 10-30am.
“As William and Kate make promises to bring Prince George up in the love of Jesus Christ, we know that Christians all over Britain will want to send their blessings to the Royal Family on this special occasion so we’ve made it possible for them to sign up to our unique Christening card,” says Peter Kerridge. “Current interest levels suggest that upwards of five thousand Christians will probably take part.”
The special blessing on the card, written by Premier Christian Radio’s Media Chaplain Revd Tony Miles, will read:
God of Life, we rejoice in the gift of a son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
We prays for William and Catherine as they love and care for George Alexander Louis. Help and equip them as parents, especially as they make solemn promises before You to nurture their son in the Christian faith.
King of Kings, strengthen this family by your Holy Spirit, that they may use the privileges, opportunities, and challenges that come with their national roles, for the good of all and as a witness to Your Light.

We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, and for the sake of Your kingdom of love and peace. Amen.

AWARD WINNING NUN SERVES WOMEN OF LRA IN DRC AFRICA

Award-winning-Nun-says-her-Service-to-Refugees-is-a-Call-from-God
NAIROBI, October 15, 2013 (CISA) -The 2013 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award winner, Sister Angelique Namaika has said that her call to serve the displaced and abused women by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda in North East Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a call from to God.
“There were two sentences in the bible that encouraged me to do that. The first one was that Jesus went everywhere to do well. He had no time to mess. The second one is that Jesus said that everything good you are doing to someone weaker than me it is as if you are doing it to me”.
“What pushed me to start serving vulnerable people is a German nun who was visiting my village and was treating and taking care of such people. This gave me the urge to do like her”, said Sister Angelique through her English translator, she spoke in French.
The catholic nun was addressing the media in Nairobi, Kenya after travelling around Europe revealing her work with displaced women and girls to dignitaries.
Sister Angelique has assisted more than 2000 women and girls in remote Dungu town in DRC.
According to Sister Angelique many of the women and children she has helped recount stories of abduction, forced labor, beatings ,murder, rape and other human rights abuses.
Through her center for Reintegration and development, she has helped them transform their lives by offering them the chance to learn a trade, start a small business and go back to school.
Since the announcement of the UNHCR award Sister Angelique has met his holiness Pope Francis, the French first lady Valerie Trierweiler and her majesty Queen Matilde of Belgium who congratulated her on her service to the displaced women and children.
When she met the Pope, She told him of her work in Dungu to which he responded to her by saying,
“I know your cause, you have to continue helping refugees, Sister Angelique said. He then placed both hands on my head, prayed and blessed me and the women.”
In gratitude and awe, Sister Angelique was quoted saying, “I never dreamed that I would meet the Holy Father, and when I found out I cried for a long time. When I met him I said I was from the Democratic Republic of Congo and I carry with me the women and children, who have been victims of atrocities by the LRA, so that they can be blessed as well as me.”
SHARED FROM CISA NEWS

RIP FR. COSTELLO SJ - PM TONY ABBOTT ATTENDS MASS

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
17 Oct 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey will both attend the  Requiem Mass of Thanksgiving at St Mary's Church, North Sydney
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will attend the Requiem Mass of Thanksgiving at St Mary's Church, North Sydney on Monday 21 October for Father Emmet Costello sj who died on Tuesday this week aged 89.
After his father Dick Abbott, the Prime Minister has frequently named Fr Costello as "the man who probably had the most influence on my life."
"He took me under his capacious wing when I was a 16 year old," Mr Abbott recalled earlier this year when he visited his mentor and friend, Fr Costello at St Peter's Green Hostel, Lane Cove where the priest spent his final years.
A teacher of French and Religion as well as chaplain at two of Sydney's leading independent Jesuit schools, Fr Costello taught and inspired many of Australia's leaders in politics, business and the Church.
These include former student at St Ignatius College, Riverview, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Bishop of Parramatta and St Aloysius College Old Boy, Treasurer Joe Hockey, both of whom will be at Monday's Requiem Mass of Thanksgiving for Fr Costello.
The funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Provincial of the Australian Jesuits, Fr Stephen Curtin sj. Concelebrating will be Fr Michael Ryan sj and Fr Edward Dooley sj.
The homily will be delivered by Fr Frank Brennan sj.
Father Emmet Costello SJ
Other former students from Riverview expected to attend are Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture; Nick Greiner, former NSW Premier who like the Prime Minister also attended St Aloysius College; and Michael Coutts-Trotter, Director General of the NSW Department of Community Services and husband of Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Federal Opposition.
A long-time friend and former Riverview student, although not during Fr Costello's time, eminent  barrister Thomas Hughes QC has also been invited.
Among the old boys from St Aloysius at Milson's Point who knew Fr Costello and are expected to join the hundreds of others at Monday's Requiem Mass are the Most Rev William Wright, Bishop of Maitland; leading Australian businessman and former CEO of the Commonwealth Bank, David Murray and well-known former diplomat, politician and academic, Michael L'Estrange AO.
Although very frail, another well-known Australian who may attend is Fr Costello's longtime friend, award-winning artist Judy Cassab.
Born in Lautoka, Fiji to Australian parents, Kathleen and Dan Costello on 22 May 1924, as a youngster Fr Costello was unable to cope with the tropical heat and in 1928 was sent to New Zealand with a nurse-governess. He remained there until he turned seven when he travelled to Melbourne to be educated as a boarder at St Patrick's College, East Melbourne.
On leaving school and after much soul searching, he entered the Novitiate at Loyola College, Victoria to begin his studies for the priesthood.
"Five others entered with me and all persevered to ordination 13 to 14 years later," he would later write, explaining the Jesuits' long spiritual and intellectual formation involving two years of intensive prayer and spiritual discernment (novitiate), three years' study of arts or science, three years of philosophy, two years' experience in a college and four years of theology.
St Ignatius College old boy, Bishop Anthony Fisher will be among the many who attend the Funeral Mass.
Fr Costello was ordained a priest in 1955 by Cardinal Gilroy but by then he had already begun teaching Latin and Religion at St Aloysius College. By 1958 after a brief break his role at the College expanded and he not only taught Religion and Latin but also French, Grammar and Modern History.
In 1967 his duties further expanded when he was appointed Chaplain to medical students at the University of Sydney and would later recall that one of the students to whom he gave pastoral care was Mervyn Cross who became one of the world's leading orthopaedic surgeons.
Two years later he began teaching at St Ignatius College Riverview where Tony Abbott was in his senior years. Teaching Religion and French, Fr Costello regularly took groups of students to help out at the Matthew Talbot Hostel for homeless men.
His father was now dead but in 1972 when Pope Paul VI made the first papal visit to Australia, he and his mother Kathleen, who was well known as an extremely generous benefactress of the Church in Fiji, were received in a private audience with the Pontiff.
"We were overwhelmed by the Holy Father's warmth, spirituality and charm. His message to me was: never, never put limits to Christ's love and power to help you in every way. He loves you Trust in him at all times," he recently wrote in an online blog.
In 1992 having served 50 years with the Society of Jesus, he travelled to Rome where he was invited to concelebrate a Mass with Pope John Paul II and later given a private audience.
Father Emmet Costello sj
A year later after 40 years at St Aloysius and St Ignatius he retired from teaching to become parish assistant and minister at St Mary's North Sydney.

Together with his duties in the parish he continued to be a prolific author publishing several books including "Saints, Popular and Relevant" in 1994 which was launched by Thomas Hughes QC and "Christ My Brother" the following year, which was launched by Murray Gleeson, QC-later appointed Justice of the High Court of Australia in 1998.
In a statement yesterday, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that not only had he lost a mentor and friend but so had thousands of other young and now not-so-young pupils and ex pupils whom Fr Costello had befriended, taught, counselled and inspired over more than half a century.
"I guess all of us became his extended family. We will miss him but his spirit will live on in the hearts of all who loved him," he said.
The Requiem Mass of Thanksgiving for Fr Costello will be held at St Mary's Church North Sydney  beginning at 8.30 am on Monday 21 October.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : THURS. OCT. 17, 2013

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 470


Reading 1                       ROM 3:21-30

Brothers and sisters:
Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,
though testified to by the law and the prophets,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ
for all who believe.
For there is no distinction;
all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation,
through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness
because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God–
to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous
and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out.
On what principle, that of works?
No, rather on the principle of faith.
For we consider that a person is justified by faith
apart from works of the law.
Does God belong to Jews alone?
Does he not belong to Gentiles, too?
Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one
and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith
and the uncircumcised through faith.

Responsorial Psalm                    PS 130:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6AB

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Gospel                        LK 11:47-54

The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

TODAY'S SAINT: OCT. 17: ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH



St. Ignatius of Antioch
BISHOP, MARTYR
Feast: October 17
Information:
Feast Day:
October 17
Born:
50 in Syria
Died:
between 98-117, Rome
Major Shrine:
Relics are in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Patron of:
against throat diseases, Church in eastern Mediterranean; Church in North Africa

Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117.
More than one of the earliest ecclesiastical writers have given credence, though apparently without good reason, to the legend that Ignatius was the child whom the Savior took up in His arms, as described in Mark, ix, 35. It is also believed, and with great probability, that, with his friend Polycarp, he was among the auditors of the Apostle St. John. If we include St. Peter, Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch and the immediate successor of Evodius (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", II, iii, 22). Theodoret ("Dial. Immutab.", I, iv, 33a, Paris, 1642) is the authority for the statement that St. Peter appointed Ignatius to the See of Antioch. St. John Chrysostom lays special emphasis on the honor conferred upon the martyr in receiving his episcopal consecration at the hands of the Apostles themselves ("Hom. in St. Ig.", IV. 587). Natalis Alexander quotes Theodoret to the same effect (III, xii, art. xvi, p. 53).
All the sterling qualities of ideal pastor and a true soldier of Christ were possessed by the Bishop of Antioch in a preeminent degree. Accordingly, when the storm of the persecution of Domitian broke in its full fury upon the Christians of Syria, it found their faithful leader prepared and watchful. He was unremitting in his vigilance and tireless in his efforts to inspire hope and to strengthen the weaklings of his flock against the terrors of the persecution. The restoration of peace, though it was short-lived, greatly comforted him. But it was not for himself that he rejoiced, as the one great and ever-present wish of his chivalrous soul was that he might receive the fullness of Christian discipleship through the medium of martyrdom. His desire was not to remain long unsatisfied. Associated with the writings of St. Ignatius is a work called "Martyrium Ignatii ", which purports to be an account by eyewitnesses of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius and the acts leading up to it. In this work, which such competent Protestant critics as Pearson and Ussher regard as genuine, the full history of that eventful journey from Syria to Rome is faithfully recorded for the edification of the Church of Antioch. It is certainly very ancient and is reputed to have been written by Philo, deacon of Tarsus, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, who accompanied Ignatius to Rome. It is generally admitted, even by those who regarded it as authentic, that this work has been greatly interpolated. Its most reliable form is that found in the "Martyrium Colbertinum" which closes the mixed recension and is so called because its oldest witness is the tenth-century Codex Colbertinus (Paris).
According to these Acts, in the ninth year of his reign, Trajan, flushed with victory over the Scythians and Dacians, sought to perfect the universality of his dominion by a species of religious conquest. He decreed, therefore, that the Christians should unite with their pagan neighbors in the worship of the gods. A general persecution was threatened, and death was named as the penalty for all who refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice. Instantly alert to the danger that threatened, Ignatius availed himself of all the means within his reach to thwart the purpose of the emperor. The success of his zealous efforts did not long remain hidden from the Church's persecutors. He was soon arrested and led before Trajan, who was then sojourning in Antioch. Accused by the emperor himself of violating the imperial edict, and of inciting others to like transgressions, Ignatius valiantly bore witness to the faith of Christ. If we may believe the account given in the "Martyrium", his bearing before Trajan was characterized by inspired eloquence, sublime courage, and even a spirit of exultation. Incapable of appreciating the motives that animated him, the emperor ordered him to be put in chains and taken to Rome, there to become the food of wild beasts and a spectacle for the people.
That the trials of this journey to Rome were great we gather from his letter to the Romans (par. 5): "From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated." Despite all this, his journey was a kind of triumph. News of his fate, his destination, and his probable itinerary had gone swiftly before. At several places along the road his fellow-Christians greeted him with words of comfort and reverential homage. It is probable that he embarked on his way to Rome at Seleucia, in Syria, the nearest port to Antioch, for either Tarsus in Cilicia, or Attalia in Pamphylia, and thence, as we gather from his letters, he journeyed overland through Asia Minor. At Laodicea, on the River Lycus, where a choice of routes presented itself, his guards selected the more northerly, which brought the prospective martyr through Philadelphia and Sardis, and finally to Smyrna, where Polycarp, his fellow-disciple in the school of St. John, was bishop. The stay at Smyrna, which was a protracted one, gave the representatives of the various Christian communities in Asia Minor an opportunity of greeting the illustrious prisoner, and offering him the homage of the Churches they represented. From the congregations of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, deputations came to comfort him. To each of these Christian communities he addressed letters from Smyrna, exhorting them to obedience to their respective bishops, and warning them to avoid the contamination of heresy. These, letters are redolent with the spirit of Christian charity, apostolic zeal, and pastoral solicitude. While still there he wrote also to the Christians of Rome, begging them to do nothing to deprive him of the opportunity of martyrdom.
From Smyrna his captors took him to Troas, from which place he dispatched letters to the Christians of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and to Polycarp. Besides these letters, Ignatius had intended to address others to the Christian communities of Asia Minor, inviting them to give public expression to their sympathy with the brethren in Antioch, but the altered plans of his guards, necessitating a hurried departure, from Troas, defeated his purpose, and he was obliged to content himself with delegating this office to his friend Polycarp. At Troas they took ship for Neapolis. From this place their journey led them overland through Macedonia and Illyria. The next port of embarkation was probably Dyrrhachium (Durazzo). Whether having arrived at the shores of the Adriatic, he completed his journey by land or sea, it is impossible to determine. Not long after his arrival in Rome he won his long-coveted crown of martyrdom in the Flavian amphitheater. The relics of the holy martyr were borne back to Antioch by the deacon Philo of Cilicia, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, and were interred outside the gates not far from the beautiful suburb of Daphne. They were afterwards removed by the Emperor Theodosius II to the Tychaeum, or Temple of Fortune which was then converted into a Christian church under the patronage of the martyr whose relics it sheltered. In 637 they were translated to St. Clement's at Rome, where they now rest. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius on 1 February.
The character of St. Ignatius, as deduced from his own and the extant writings of his contemporaries, is that of a true athlete of Christ. The triple honor of apostle, bishop, and martyr was well merited by this energetic soldier of the Faith. An enthusiastic devotion to duty, a passionate love of sacrifice, and an utter fearlessness in the defense of Christian truth, were his chief characteristics. Zeal for the spiritual well-being of those under his charge breathes from every line of his writings. Ever vigilant lest they be infected by the rampant heresies of those early days; praying for them, that their faith and courage may not be wanting in the hour of persecution; constantly exhorting them to unfailing obedience to their bishops; teaching them all Catholic truth ; eagerly sighing for the crown of martyrdom, that his own blood may fructify in added graces in the souls of his flock, he proves himself in every sense a true, pastor of souls, the good shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep.
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