On February 23, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna. St. Polycarp does not have an official patronage, but he is a great saint to seek intercession from in many circumstances. You can ask St. Polycarp to pray for you if you are facing persecution for your Faith, since he endured persecution for his Faith and was ultimately martyred. Or you can ask him to pray for someone you know who is suffering persecution for their Faith. St. Polycarp is also a great saint to seek intercession from on behalf of Church leaders, since he was a holy bishop who did a lot to combat heresy and to lead the Church well.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Great martyr, Saint Polycarp, make us steadfast witnesses to the truth in word and deed, just as you witnessed to the truth in your own life and death. Through your intercession, make our commitment to our religion of long duration, a life project, enduring until our life of faith concludes with a death of faith. As we devote ourselves to you in this period of nine days, hear the humble prayers we make before God and intercede for us in order that we become beneficiaries of the heavenly graces especially in this particular need(s) (state your intentions). Grant this, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
MEDITATION: EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS
(Polycarp wrote some epistles, among which are to the Philippians. We shall examine this epistle in the course of our meditation. The epistle resembles that of Saint Paul in style and content, a proof that he heard the preachings of the Apostles of Christ)
Chapter 5. The duties of deacons, youths, and virgins
Knowing, then, that God is not mocked, we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory. In like manner should the deacons be blameless before the face of His righteousness, as being the servants of God and Christ, and not of men. They must not be slanderers, doubletongued, or lovers of money, but temperate in all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was the servant of all. If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, we shall also reign together with Him, provided only we believe. In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since every lust wars against the spirit; and neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God, nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ. The virgins also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.
Chapter 6. The duties of presbyters and others
And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man; abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjustjudgment; keeping far off from all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an evil report] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all appear at the judgmentseat of Christ, and must everyone give an account of himself. Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us].
Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offense, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error.
CONCLUDING PRAYER – DAY 4
St. Polycarp, you became a bishop during a tumultuous time in the early Church. Amidst persecution from the government, you also dealt with many debates and heresies gaining traction within the Church. You did all you could to lead the Church faithfully. As many people began to debate both doctrines and practices in the Church, you remained faithful to the truth and worked to lead your people to holiness. Pray for me, that I may always do all I can to promote the truth. Pray that I may be courageous in preaching the Gospel at all times.
Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be…
Through the intercession of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, may Almighty God bless you + the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Compiled by Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora da Immaculada Conceição, Paulo Ramos, Maranhão, Brazil
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?