Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
The liturgy today commemorates Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and author of the Spiritual Exercises. His life story meaningfully answers the same question asked of Jesus in the gospel reading. “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?” (Matthew 13:54). While recovering from a war injury that shattered his leg, Ignatius was influenced by the only books available to him during his convalescence—a life of Christ and the lives of the saints. These began a long and painful process of conversion to Christ. Inspired by a vision of the mother of Jesus, he found peace of mind following an intense period of time spent at Manresa praying, fasting, receiving the sacraments, and doing penance. He subsequently surrendered to God in all the circumstances of his life.
Our relationship with God may be thought of as a series of subtle unnoticed interior conversions or points of transformation born of being lovingly with him in prayer. Or perhaps it recalls, with gratitude, a moment in time of turning our life to Christ in a more conscious way. In either case, it involves ongoing surrender to God’s will for us.
Saint Eymard writes, “…From the sacred host… he [Jesus] governs the world as from a throne, but without abandoning his repose in God. The reign of Jesus within me must be the same, wholly interior; I must keep myself wholly recollected in his presence, my soul, my faculties, and, as far as possible, my senses. I must live with Jesus in God, not with myself. I must pray with him, immolate myself with his sacrifice, be consumed in his own love, and become as it were one flame, one heart, one life in Jesus…” (Eymard Library, Vol.3, p.115)
How are Ignatius and Eymard similar in their lives spent serving God and the Church?
Let Us Pray:
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will—all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have given all that to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me only love of yourself along with your grace, for that is enough for me. Amen. (Prayer of Saint Ignatius)
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