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How St. Ignatius of Antioch wanted to imitate the Eucharist



Philip Kosloski - published on 10/17/22 - updated on 10/12/23

St. Ignatius of Antioch prayed to be "wheat" ground into "Christ's pure bread."

St. Ignatius of Antioch is one of the best known martyrs of the early Church, especially for his famous letter to the Romans before his martyrdom.

In his letter, he writes about his desire for death using eucharistic language, comparing his martyrdom to the eucharistic sacrifice.

I am writing to all the churches to let it be known that I will gladly die for God if only you do not stand in my way. I plead with you: show me no untimely kindness. Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.

St. Ignatius’ strong devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist can be found in his other writings as well, such as his letter to the Ephesians.

[O]bey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.

For St. Ignatius the Eucharist was his strength in this life, and he wanted to imitate it in the way in which he died.

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