Dialogue - Trajan to Ignatius
by Ignatius 107AD
Trajan: "Who art thou, poor devil?"|
Ignatius: " ... a God Bearer ..."
Trajan: "And who is a God Bearer?"
Ignatius: "He that has Christ in his breast."
Trajan: "Does thou not think that we too have gods in our heart?"
Ignatius: "Thou art deceived when thou callest the devils of the nations gods. There is one God and Christ Jesus his son"
Trajan: "Do you mean Him that was crucified under Pontius Pilate?"
Ignatius: "I speak of Him that nailed on the cross, sin and its author and sentenced every malice of the devil to be trodden down of them who carry Him in their heart"
Trajan: "Dost thou then carry Christ within thyself"
Ignatius: "Yes, for it is written, 'I will dwell in them and walk in them'"
Trajan: "Let Ignatius, who says he carries the Crucified in himself, be fettered, taken to Rome and thrown to the wild beasts to amuse the people"
Ignatius actually kissed the heavy chains with which the guards bound him, calling them his "most precious spiritual pearls," for they allowed him to follow the example of St. Paul. They were a sign, a precious ornament announcing to all that he was soon to gain that prize for which he longed above all earthly comforts: Christ Himself. Dispatched on foot, Antiochís God-bearing bishop was escorted by an unsympathetic Roman guard. We know from the epistles he dispatched along the way, that he deeply pondered the final bloody scene in the Roman arena where, in one last liturgy of glory, he would simultaneously be both the priest who was sacrificing, and the victim being sacrificed. He moreover expressed, in a letter sent ahead to the faithful in Rome, his burning desire to accomplish this final witness without hindrance. Strongly opposing any thoughts the Roman Christians might have about rescuing him, he pled with them: "Allow me to become an imitator of the passion of my God. Let me become the food of the beasts through which it will be possible for me to find God. I am Godís wheat and the teeth of the beasts will grind me so that I may be found a pure loaf of bread for Christ."