V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Infirmitátem nostram respice, omnípotens Deus: et, quia pondus própriæ actionis gravat, beáti Ignátii Martyris tui atque Pontificis intercéssio gloriosa nos prótegat.
Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Be mindful of our weakness, O almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Ignatius Thy martyr and bishop may protect us.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
From the Office of Matins:
Ignátius, Antiochíæ post Petrum secúnda successióne episcopátum sortítus est, et Traiáni témpore accusátus, quod Christiánus esset, ad béstias damnátur Romam mitténdus. Quo cum a Syria vinctus deportátur, omnes Asiæ civitátes, ad quas appulísset, evangélicis cohortatiónibus epístolis erúdiens. In quarum una, quam Smyrnæ, dum apud Polycárpum diversarétur, ad Romános scripsit, inter cétera hæc de sua damnatióne refert: O salutáres béstias, quæ præparántur mihi! Quando vénient? Quando emmiténtur? Quando eis frui licébit cárnibus meis? Quas et ego opto acrióres parári, ne forte, ut in nonnúllis fecérunt, tímeant contíngere corpus meum. Nunc incípio discípulus esse Christi. Ignes, cruces, béstiæ, discerptiónes membrórum, ac totíus córporis pœnæ, et ómnia supplícia diáboli arte quæsíta cumuléntur, dúmmodo Iesum Christum mérear adipísci. Romam ígitur perdúctus, cum rugiéntes audíret leónes, ardóre martyrii incénsus, in hæc verba prorúpit: Fruméntum Christi sum; déntibus bestiárum molar, ut panis mundus invéniar. Passus est undécimo anno Traiáni.
V. Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R. Deo grátias.
Ignatius, chosen to be the second successor of Peter as bishop of Antioch, was accused of being a Christian during Traian's reign and condemned to be sent to the beasts in Rome. As he was being brought from Syria in chains, he kept teaching all the cities of Asia which he went through, exhorting them as a messenger of the Gospel and instructing the more distant ones by his letters. In one of these letters, which he wrote to the Romans from Smyrna while he was enjoying Polycarp's companionship, among other matters he said this about his own death sentence: "O helpful beasts that are being made ready for me! when will they come? When will they be sent out? When will they be allowed to devour my flesh And I hope that they will be made the more fierce, lest by chance, as has happened in the case of others, they may fear to touch my body. Now I am beginning to be Christ's disciple. Let fire, crosses, beasts, the tearing apart of my limbs, the torment of my whole body and all the sufferings prepared by the devil's art be heaped upon me all at once, if only I may attain Jesus Christ. When he had arrived in Rome, he heard the lions roaring and, burning with desire for martyrdom, he burst out, "I am the wheat of Christ; let me be ground by the teeth of the beasts so that I may be found pure bread." He suffered in the eleventh year of Trajan's reign.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.