St Ignatius of Constantinople

Patriarch of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, in Turkey (entered heaven this day in 877)

Dear Constance,

I am terribly sorry once again to have to play “the heavy”, but I can’t in conscience keep letting you make excuses.  Now you are an “officer” in your sorority, and so you have a responsibility to set the tone for the whole community. If you don’t find ways to speak up in favor of virtuous behavior and against degrading activities, you will be (I am afraid it’s true) partially responsible for the adverse repercussions the younger girls will experience from their excesses.  That’s just the way it is. Those given position of influence are responsible for how they use it. I sincerely believe that your being in this position is providential, and will do much good for the sorority, if you can find the courage to alter bad fashions and set new good ones. Perhaps today’s saint can serve as an inspiration.

His career didn’t start out propitiously – though his mother was an emperor’s daughter, and his father himself was (briefly) emperor, he and his brother were mutilated and imprisoned when a usurper took his father’s throne.  The future saint decided to take the monk’s habit, and quickly learned the lessons of self-denial so essential for holiness as his abbot treated him poorly (probably to counteract any arrogance left-over from being aware of his high social standing).  But he suffered his humiliations with a true spirit of faith, and when the abbot died, he was elected abbot in turn. His holiness and eloquence gained him a reputation, and while still middle-aged, he was chosen to occupy the important patriarchate of Constantinople.  He served the Church with dedication and distinction, but he got himself into trouble when he publicly took the emperor to task for scandalizing the city with an incestuous affair (he actually refused to give the emperor Holy Communion on the great feast of Epiphany). That earned him venomous animosity and a trip into exile.  Later, following the frequent ups and downs of eastern politics, he was reinstated, and continued to serve with holiness and eloquence, though his intransigency in political affairs continued to keep in embroiled in controversy. Even today, however, his fidelity to Christ and his positive influence on court and commoners alike are so universally recognized that he is honored as saint both among Catholics and Orthodox.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m wishing you neither an expulsion from officer-ship nor an exile from your sorority, but I am hoping that you will use your influence and intelligence to diminish sin and encourage virtue.  You could make no greater contribution than that, both for the university and the sorority, not to mention the future lives of these gullible underclasswomen. Count on my prayers.

Your devoted uncle, Eddy

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