The references of St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) to the Eucharist in the seven authentic letters he wrote while on his way to Rome to suffer martyrdom are sufficient to indicate that the Mystery of the Lord's Body and Blood was a most significant aspect in his thought and in his own spiritual life. In his letter to the Christians of Tralles, for example, he apparently compares the virtues of faith and love to the Eucharistic Mystery when he writes: "Therefore, arming yourselves with gentleness, renew yourselves in faith, which is the Flesh of the Lord, and in charity, which is the Blood of Jesus Christ. Hold nothing against your neighbor." His letter to the Romans is almost mystical in its Eucharistic allusions. He compares his own coming tortures to the process that the wheat must undergo. In facing death, Ignatius states that his only remaining desire is to encounter him who has made himself the food and drink of Christians. I am God's grain, and I am being ground by the teeth of wild beasts in order that I may be found [to be] pure bread for Christ. My [earthly] love has been crucified, and there is in me no fire of material love, but rather a living water, speaking in me and saying within me, "Come to the Father". I take no pleasure in corruptible food or in the delights of this life. I want the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ, who is of the seed of David; and as drink I want his Blood, which is incorruptible love.

The Hidden Manna: A Theology Of The Eucharist
Fr. James T. O'Connor