“I take no pleasure in corruptible food or in the delights of this life. I want the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ, who is of the Seed of David; and as drink I want his Blood, which is incorruptible love.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Saint Ignatius is one of the great martyrs of early Christianity. He died in Rome, tradition holds, from being fed to wild beasts. In his writings Ignatius expressed a desire to imitate Jesus in his sufferings; he longed to die for Christ. But the way Ignatius expressed this desire has a peculiarly Eucharistic connotation. He writes, “I am God’s grain, and I am being ground by the teeth of the wild beasts in order that I may be found [to be] pure bread for Christ.” For Ignatius, imitation of Christ was not merely holding to Jesus’ moral teachings, or believing the truths that Jesus preached. It meant that he was to be so conformed to Jesus that he would make his life an offering to God, even unto death. Ignatius knew and firmly held the Christian view that the Bread of God is the Flesh of Jesus. He identifies the bread with the flesh of Jesus, understanding that before him was the Eucharistic Lord. This is the Lord who, out of his great love, feeds his sons and daughters with the bread that is his flesh and the wine that is his blood.
Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP, Eucharist
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