St Ignatius of Antioch

Thn angel of the Lord is encamped
  aeound those who revere him,
  to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
  He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Psalm 34 [33]

St Ignatius, about whom I knew very little until the day before yesterday, was martyred in AD110. I learned a bit about him some fifteen years ago in an early church history class, but didn’t pursue him further then. This week, though, I found myself drawn into his writings. Initially, I was looking for some material for a lecture. But the way he talks about the faith, and his insistence on the full humanity and full divinity of Christ (more than three centuries before the council of Chalcedon) and the intimate union of the members of the body of Christ, struck me, and I kept reading. Sometimes the lives of the saints inspire by their deeds or by their faith–as it is the story of St Francis’s conversion that inspires me. St Ignatius, though, inspires me as a theologian: keeping our doctrine faithful matters now as it did then, and I shouldn’t be shy about insisting upon it.

The psalm for today, chosen for St Ignatius’ feast, points beyond the life of the world. St Ignatius certainly sought refuge in the Lord, and the Lord rescued him in 110 not by delivering him from the lions but by receiving him into his kingdom. How far I am from the faith that sees the opportunity to suffer for the gospel as a privilege! I pray that I will be able to taste and see the Lord’s goodness in all that life brings, and to seek refuge in him always.

St Ignatuis, pray for us.

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