Saint Polycarp was one of the early church members, who heard about Jesus from his apostles, but he did not meet him personally. Being part of the second generation of Church leaders, he had challenges that the first generation could not teach about. Today, on the 23rd of February, we remember Saint Polycarp, who was martyred in AD 156, at the age of 86.
He was a loving and charitable and charitable saint, especially noted for his compassion for sinners. He hated heresy because he loved God and man so much. In 167, persecution broke out in Smyrna, where he lived and shared the gospel.
When Polycarp heard that his pursuers were at the door, he said, “The will of God be done .” Meeting them, he begged to be left alone for a little time, which he spent in prayer for “the Catholic Church throughout the world.” He was brought to Smyrna early on Holy Saturday; and, as he entered, a voice was heard from heaven, “Polycarp, be strong.”
When the proconsul brought him to curse Christ and go free, Polycarp answered, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?” When he threatened him with fire, Polycarp told him this fire of his lasted but a little, while the fire prepared for the wicked lasted forever. At the stake, he thanked God aloud for letting him drink from Christ’s chalice.
The fire was lighted, but it did him no hurt; so he was stabbed to the heart, and his dead body was burnt. “Then,” say the writers of his acts, “we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!”
Source: Catholic Readings
Photo: Saint Polycarp, source: My Catholic Life