True refinement

When he had offered up the “Amen” and finished his prayer, the men in charge of the fire lit the fire. And as a mighty flame blazed up, we saw a miracle (we, that is, to whom it was given to see), and we have been preserved in order that we might tell the rest what happened. For the fire, taking the shape of an arch, like the sail of a ship filled by the wind, completely surrounded the body of the martyr; and it was there in the middle, not like flesh burning but like bread baking or like gold and silver being refined in a furnace. For we also perceived a fragrant odor, as if it were the scent of incense or some other precious spice.

The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 15

True refinement consists not of the best breeding and upbringing, the best schooling and finishing, but in living a life fully in God. The safety and comfort of the former life is not a component of the latter. But what is more important? A crown that you might only wear for seventy years or so, one that can be taken away and melted down, and its wearer forgotten? Or to be wearing an eternal crown, forever living with it upon your head, and your never being forgotten by Him who crowned you? Polycarp—Christian, bishop, saint, martyr—knew the answer and lived his life accordingly. Let us all do the same.

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