Saturday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-+1556) Co-founder of the Society of Jesus and Patron Saint of Soldiers
Book of Leviticus 25:1-, 8-17, Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 7-8, & Matthew 14:1-12
Saint Ignatius was born in Loyola, Spain, in 1491 to wealthy parents. As a result, he became what we might call a "spoiled rich kid" that led to an early life of juvenile delinquency. His parents were constantly bailing him out of trouble. As a young man, he was proficient with military weapons and became a soldier. During a battle against the French, his right leg was seriously injured. During his long convalescence, he asked to read romantic novels. Having none, he instead received a book on the Life of Christ and the Lives of the Saints, which sparked him to see the world with a new perspective. When I hear of this incredible conversion, I think of the parable of "the pearl of great price," as Ignatius gives up his old life by selling all he had to pursue a new life.
Ignatius resolved to do two things after he left his sickbed, which were to do penance for his past sins and to transfer his allegiance from the king of Spain to the King of Kings. Ultimately, he laid down his sword and uniform and put on the clothing of a pilgrim. He lived in a cave and wrote many notes relating to his "spiritual experience," which later became the "Spiritual Exercises" and the source and origination of the Society of Jesus. This order has produced saints Francis Xavier, Peter Canisius, Robert Bellarmine, Isaac Jogues, and Aloysius Gonzaga. Some consider that only New Testament and Thomas Kempis' Imitation of Christ had more influence in Western Christianity than Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises.
Saint Ignatius has been dead for 465 years, yet he lives on in the lives of priests, deacons, religious, and the laity formed by the same Spiritual Exercises and to "find God in all things." In many ways, Ignatian spirituality is easy to discern. How? By discovering joy! Joy is the most assured sign of Ignatian spirituality because it is the most infallible sign of the awareness of the presence of God in all things.
Question of the Day: How will you, in imitation of the Spiritual Exercises, find God in all things?
Prayer: "God, You raised Saint Ignatius in Your Church to inspire men to work for Your greater glory. Grant that we may labor on earth with his help and after his example and merit to be crowned with him in heaven. Amen." (From Lives of the Saints, Illustrated)