Friday, August 9, 2013

Polycarp: Old Hero for Young Christians

By Rev. Larry Beane

I have just ordered a copy of Polycarp: The Crown of Fire, a highly rated book aimed at young people about St. Polycarp.

It is fast-moving historical fiction, and is part of the "torchbearers" series, "Biographies of brave Christian men and women who suffered and even died as martyrs for the cause of Christ and the gospel. Ideal for ages 8-12 to read, or to read aloud to ages 5-7."  They come highly recommended by homeschoolers.

If the book lives up to its reputation, I'm looking forward to reading it to my eight-year old son.

Children need heroes and role models - and not just one more pampered millionaire athlete/felon who can throw a ball and trash-talk.  We need real heroes, real Article 21 heroes, for as we confess, our churches "teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling."

St. Polycarp remains a pivotal figure for today, one of the last links to the holy apostles, one of Christendom's first martyrs, one of the apostolic fathers whose writings resonate with the Holy Scriptures that dripped liberally from his pen and preaching.

A teaser from Amazon:

Polycarp, anxiously waited until the sound of marching footsteps faded away. The Praetorian guard were on the move - ready to pounce on Christians or any other 'revolutionaries' that they might find. Papais is ready with his sword but Polycarp has another course in mind. These are the days when the catacombs are the dark shadowy refuges of the Christians and the amphitheatre is the sound of death to the believer. Polycarp though is one of the church leaders called on to give his life for Christ and his Kingdom...and this is something he counts as an honor. To gain the Crown of Fire he must be willing to suffer for Christ. But will his courage hold? Will he give in to the struggle? Accompany Polycarp and his companions as they face up to the Roman enemy and yet still pass on the legacy of truth. The golden chain around Polycarp's neck is a link to the past in more ways than one...the truth with it will be passed onto future generations. To people like you. Included in the book are a time line and further facts about the early church.
I look forward to receiving this retelling of the story of our blessed patron and holy father in the faith.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!

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