Today we liturgically honor St Polycarp. We have a letter from St Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp written around AD 110, when he was a young bishop in Smyrna. Ignatius himself going to Rome in chains to face martyrdom. Ignatius wrote:
Stand firm, like an anvil being struck with a hammer. It is the mark of a great athlete to be bruised, yet still conquer. But especially we must, for God’s sake, patiently bear all things, so that he may also bear with us. Be more diligent than you are. Understand the times. Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Letter of Ignatius to Polycarp, 3)
Polycarp stood firm; he was a great athlete; he was patient; he was diligent. Are we? Do we have these traits in in following Christ, and dealing with adversity? Today, let us ask for the same grace Polycarp did so as to fight evil?