Of the apostolic men who heard directly from the disciples the truths of faith and transmitted them to us in their writings, we present, in the first place, St. Ignatius the Martyr. He is said to have been one of the fortunate children whom Jesus embraced (Mark 10: 13 ff.), though the Apostles wished to drive them away. It is certain that he was a disciple of the Apostles, and after Evodius succeeded St. Peter in the See of Antioch. Trajan condemned him to be devoured by wild beasts in Rome, where he suffered his most glorious martyrdom 20th December, 108 or 109 of the Christian era.

A guard of ten soldiers escorted him from Antioch to Rome, and he availed of the time to write several letters, which were preserved as precious relics by the faithful, and which fortunately we still possess. In these letters, together with much more that is sacred and wonderful, we possess the most valuable testimonies to the Eucharist. For instance, the Saint, in his very famous letter to the faithful in Rome, declaring his intense desire to die for Jesus Christ, writes: "I care no longer for corruptible food, nor for the pleasures of this life: I desire only the bread of God, the bread of heaven, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the race of David and Abraham; I desire the drink of God, His blood, which is love incorruptible and life without end." In this passage the Saint alludes plainly to the Divine words of the great promise: "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath everlasting life." (John 6: 55.)

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ In The Eucharist
Cardinal Gaetano De Lai