When it is a challenge to live as a true Catholic in this world; when you feel persecuted or discriminated against for your beliefs; when you humbly submit to God's will, think of St. Polycarp and how he did the same 18 centuries ago.
St. Polycarp was a beloved Bishop of Smyrna during the early days of the Catholic Church, during a time rife with persecution, heresies, and confusion. Friends with St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. John the Apostle, he was part of the second generation of the Church and was blessed to be able to listen to stories about our Lord from the most loved Apostle, John.
As a good shepherd, St. Polycarp defended the young Church and his flock from the wolves surrounding them in the second century. The Roman rulers went to great lengths to hunt him down and to coerce him into denying his faith. They did find the 86-year-old Bishop eventually but were astonished at his bold defense of the faith with his life on the line. The first attempt to murder him by setting his body aflame failed, so the soldiers stabbed the elderly bishop to death.
St. Polycarp, patron against earaches, has his feast day on February 23.