23 February 2008

Angel of Smyrna

Apostolic Father of the second century, disciple of St. John the Theologian, Friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch, defender of the faith against heresy, Bishop of Smyrna (Rev. 2:8), Martyr--February 23 is the feast of St. Polycarp.

At 86, the Romans tried to burn him alive in a stadium in Smyrna but the flames did not harm him so he was stabbed and his body burned.

His intercessions are very effective against earaches. How people figure out these things seems strange to me. Some time over the last 2000 years someone with an earache decided to pray to St. Polycarp and God healed them so other people with earaches asked for his prayers. Suddenly he's God's go-to guy for earaches.

Since my surgery I've been suffering from an earache, so here goes: "Saint Polycarp, who burned as sweet incense in the censor of the Eternal Priest, pray to Him that my earache may be healed. Holy martyr, help me to endure all things for the glory of Christ. Amen."

St. Irenaeus writes: "But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried on earth a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true."

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