“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 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.
LET US PRAY
Lord Jesus, you are truly present under the form of bread. Give me the faith of the saints of old so that I may believe more fervently that this bread is your flesh. May I desire increasingly only this incorruptible food. Amen.
PRAYER TO THE EUCHARIST
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
-Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas