Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saint Polycarp

As Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, "Be strong, and show yourself a man, O Polycarp!" No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, (the proconsul) sought to persuade him to deny (Christ), saying, “Have respect to your old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom…But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven said,  “Away with the Atheists.”  Then, the proconsul was urging him and saying, “Swear, and I will set you at liberty, reproach Christ.”  Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

The martyrs are our holy forebears in our struggle to hold fast to Jesus amid all dangers and temptations to do otherwise. Pray for us, Saint Polycarp that like you we will be faithful unto death.