In the Roman Canon, after St. Barnabas, we find St. Ignatius of Antioch.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, according to legend, he was blessed when a child, by Our Lord. He was a student of the Apostles, and also the second successor of St. Peter in the See of Antioch. Under the emperor Trajan, he was sentenced to death, dragged in chains to Rome, and there in the Colosseum, on December 20, 107, exposed to the wild beasts. This greatly celebrated bishop burned with an ardent desire for martyrdom, as is evident, from the letters, he wrote to different communities while on the way to Rome.
He wrote, “You cannot prove your tender love for me better than by allowing me to consecrate myself in sacrifice — now, since the altar is erected; be content, in a holy choir of love, to chant thanks to the Father, in Christ Jesus. Well is it for me if I perish to the world, so that I may arise for God! Whatever of tortures the devil can invent, let all come upon me, if I but gain Jesus Christ. All the delights of earth I account as nothing, as nothing all the kingdoms of the world; better is it for me to die for Jesus Christ than to reign over all the bounds of the earth. Let me imitate the sufferings of my God. My Love is, indeed, crucified. There is no fire burning in me that tends to the things of earth, but a fountain of living water arises in my heart crying unto me: Come to the Father! I desire only the Bread of God, the heavenly Bread of Life, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; this only drink do I desire, His Blood, which is imperishable love and life eternal!”
Since the middle of the seventh century, his holy relics have been preserved in the Basilica of St. Clement at Rome, where they were deposited on February 1; hence his feast falls on this day.
St. Ignatius, pray for us!
For the Greater Glory of God,