This morning, over breakfast, I was visiting about peace, prudence, and bishops. If I ever complain about not being a bishop, somebody slap me. But, I kept this in prayer as I went to pray my office. What a combination this morning, 1st Samuel 26 and Irenaeus. In 1st Samuel, as David stands over the sleeping Saul he says: "As the Lord lives, it must be the Lord himself who will strike him, whether the time comes for him to die, or he goes out and perishes in battle. But the Lord forbid that I touch his anointed!"
David refused to slay Saul who was seeking to slay David. David respected the dignity of the anointing Saul had received and, rather than dispatch him, used that as a moment to call Saul to conversion, as shown later in the chapter. Priests, Bishops, and the whole of the Church have, through their baptism, received a greater anointing than Saul. Why should we seek to strike them down in various ways. We must boldly call them to conversion. In this insight, I was moved by the Benedictus Antiphon for Irenaeus: Irenaeus, true to his name, made peace the aim and object of his life, and he labored strenuously for the peace of the Church.
I am not familiar enough with Irenaeus' life to say how he made peace the aim and object of his life, but I know it wasn't by being silent in the face of opposition to Christ. Even if that opposition was by a fellow bishop, priest, or baptized Christian, he would boldly proclaim that invitation to fully follow Christ.
St. Irenaeus, pray for me that I may not be too polite to proclaim Christ. That I may not be too polite to challenge others. That I may not be too polite to risk a martyr's death. That I may invite everyone, especially those who have received the dignities of Baptism or Orders, to fully follow Christ. St. Irenaeus, pray for me that my priestly life may give witness that the glory of God is man who is fully alive.