SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2021
“We try to accumulate and increase what we have, but Jesus asks us to give, to diminish. We like to add, we like addition; Jesus likes subtraction, taking something away to give it to others. We want to multiply for ourselves; Jesus appreciates it when we share with others, when we share… The true miracle, says Jesus, is not the multiplication that produces vanity and power, but the sharing that increases love and allows God to perform wonders. Let us try to share more: let us try the way Jesus teaches us.” Pope Francis
In the crises and sorrows of our lives one of the first questions we ask is, will someone be there, will anyone help to support us? In my own life this has become almost the definition of God: the One who is there. Not just in crises, of course, but always. And yet it is most difficult to believe that God is there if there is not another human being there as well. Perhaps it is the weakness of my faith, but it is so hard to believe that God is here with me if there is no one else besides. When others stand with us and beside us, God shines forth in our midst. So maybe God keeps coming to us in the form of those “angels” who look like human beings.
— from the book Song of the Sparrow: New Poems and Meditations by Murray Bodo, OFM
Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Story
The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat near Barcelona. He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned.
It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises.
He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. Ignatius spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods.
In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others—one of whom was Saint Francis Xavier—vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Pope Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general.
When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens, and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society.
Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, Ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.
Luther nailed his theses to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517. Seventeen years later, Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society that was to play so prominent a part in the Catholic Reformation. He was an implacable foe of Protestantism. Yet the seeds of ecumenism may be found in his words: “Great care must be taken to show forth orthodox truth in such a way that if any heretics happen to be present they may have an example of charity and Christian moderation. No hard words should be used nor any sort of contempt for their errors be shown.” One of the greatest ecumenists was the 20th-century German Jesuit, Cardinal Augustin Bea.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the Patron Saint of:
“However great our efforts, we cannot change ourselves. Only God can get to the bottom of our defects, and our limitations in the field of love; only he has sufficient mastery over our hearts for that. If we realize that we will save ourselves a great deal of discouragement and fruitless struggle. We do not have to become saints by our own power; we have to learn how to let God make us into saints. That does not mean, of course, that we don’t have to make any effort . . . We should fight, not to attain holiness as a result of our own efforts, but to let God act in us without our putting up any resistance against him; we should fight to open ourselves as fully as possible to his grace, which sanctifies us.”
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 14-5
“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be, and becoming that person.”
— St. Therese of Lisieux
St. Peter Chrysologus (406-450 A.D.) was born in Imola, Italy. He was an adult convert to Christianity and studied under his bishop, Cornelius, who ordained him a deacon. In his day the city of Ravenna was the center of the Roman Empire, making the Archbishop of Ravenna an important position in the Church. When the Archbishop of Ravenna died, a new archbishop was elected by the clergy and the people of Ravenna. Bishop Cornelius of Imola went to Rome with his deacon, St. Peter Chyrsologus, to have the Ravenna appointment confirmed by Pope Sixtus III. When the pope saw St. Peter, he appointed him the new Archbishop of Ravenna instead. St. Peter was an effective shepherd who stamped out paganism, heresy, and ecclesiastical abuses from his diocese, earning the high regard of Emperor Valentinan III who resided in Ravenna. He also organized services to help the poor of the city. St. Peter was renowed for his profound and eloquent sermons, and his skill with taking complex theological truths and putting them in plain language, earning him the name ‘Chrysologus’ meaning ‘the man of golden speech’ or ‘golden word’ as well as the ‘Doctor of Homilies.’ In 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. His feast day is July 30.
“Although we feel the humiliation keenly when we are insulted, persecuted, or calumniated, this does not mean that we cannot suffer such trials with sentiments of true humility, subjecting nature to reason and faith, and sacrificing the resentment of our self-love to the love of God. We are not made of stone, so that we need be insensible or senseless in order to be humble. Of some martyrs we read that they writhed under their torments; of others, that they more or less rejoiced in them, according to the greater or lesser degree of unction they received from the Holy Ghost; and all were rewarded by the crown of glory, as it is not the pain or the feeling that makes the martyr, but the supernatural motive of virtue. In the same way some humble persons feel pleasure in being humiliated, and some feel sadness, especially when weighted down with calumny; and yet they all belong to the sphere of the humble, because it is not the humiliation nor the suffering alone which makes the soul humble, but the interior act by which this same humiliation is accepted and received through motives of Christian humility, and especially of a desire to resemble Jesus Christ, who though entitled to all the honors the world could offer Him, bore humiliation and scorn for the glory of His eternal Father.”— Fr. Cajetan da Bergamo, p. 19-20