The day of the martyrs’ victory dawned. They marched from their cells into the amphitheater, as if into heaven, with cheerful looks and graceful bearing.
Although there are many remedies to the poisons of bad example, the saints stand as role-models of heroic sanctity, holiness, and fortitude. They are unique and unrepeatable persons of excellence for every age. St. Polycarp is one such person.
The life and teaching of St. Ignatius clearly point to the sublime and lofty goal of human nature: eternal communion with God. Man is made for something—Someone—infinitely greater and higher than creatures or created things.
If we comply with the corruption of this age, living according to its evil tenets and communicating it to others through our willing adherence to its errors, we might well live more comfortably: we might receive approbation from the powerful and attain to high status among a society gone awry, plagued by moral fragmentation. In the end, however, we will have lost everything that really matters.
The Roman prefect Rusticus, his hate-filled eyes fixed intently on St. Justin, said: “Do you have an idea that you will go up to heaven to receive some suitable rewards?” Justin responded: “It is not an idea that I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain.”