Ignatius to the Romans
1. Why do you think he was so eager for martyrdom? Cite examples form the text where he justifies his desire to die.
2. Do you think in desiring death St. Ignatius was being a true follower of Christ's example or do you think he was a bit overzealous - even suicidal in his thinking? Explain.
3. How do you think it would have impacted the Church if all of the early bishops shared this zeal for martrydom? Would it be possible for bishops today to demonstrate this same zeal for suffering, even if not for martyrdom?
Ignatius to the Philadelphians
1. St. Ignatius' primary concern seems to be for the unity of the Church under the leadership of the bishop. Why do you think this is of such importance to him?
2. St. Ignatius is very critical of divisions within the Church and with those who hold "different gospels". How do you think he would react to the pluralism and diversity within Christianity today, which has hundreds of different denominations?
Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
1. Ignatius addresses a specific heresy within this community. From his writing, describe what you think the details of this heretical belief are, particularly the doctrine pertaining to Jesus.
2. Again, Ignatius exhorts them to adhere closely to the bishop. Why do you think this was of such great importance?
Ignatius to Polycarp
1. In chapter 2 Ignatius compares the bishop to a pilot (of a ship). Why do you think he would make such a comparison?
2. Explain why Ignatius uses the metaphors of an athlete, an anvil, (ch. 3) and a clad warrior (ch. 6) to describe a faithful Christian.
3. What is Ignatius' view of the role of marriage in society?
Until next time,
Ad Jesum Per Mariam,