February has been traditionally associated with both devotion to the Holy Family and with devotion to the Passion of our Lord.
With the close of Christmastide at Purification and the approach of the sacred season of Lent, the Passion of Christ begins increasingly to capture our attention. Today, in St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Church gives us an excellent instructor of joyous union with the Passion of Christ.
Condemned to martyrdom under Trajan, Ignatius was led in chains to Rome, a march Dr. Parsch refers to as both a nuptial journey and a Way of the Cross. It is the joyous nuptial journey of a soul filled with eager longing to enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, and a Way of the Cross, punctuated by seven of the most stirring letters of the early Church characterized by ardent love of Christ and desire to imitate Him in all ways.
Words of St. Ignatius
On his impending martyrdom:
All the pleasures of the world, and all the kingdoms of this earth, shall profit me nothing. It is better for me to die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth. Him I seek, who died for us: Him I desire, who rose again for our sake. ... Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God.
As children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there do ye as sheep follow.
Passion of Christ, Strengthen me!