St. Ignatius Loyola

Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Ignatius was born in Spain, in Cantabria. Having been born into a wealthy family, he really wanted to excel and be successful in the world.
.
As a soldier, he became wounded at the battle of Pamplona, and then had to spend quite some time recovering in a hospital. It was there that he asked for some books to read; he wanted to read novels about chivalry and power and fame, but all they had to give him was a book about Jesus Christ and the lives of the saints.
.
Now he found that each time he read about Christ and the saints, he felt very happy and peaceful and inspired. But when he would daydream about fame and glory, with fantasies of winning the love of the ladies, he felt empty. He would say to himself, ‘if saint Lawrence can be a martyr for Christ, and if so many of the other saints can do such great things, why can I not do the same?’ It was the beginning of his conversion to the Lord.
.
He traveled to Montserrat, and there, before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, he gave up his weapons, and joined the army of Christ. Having given away his nice clothing to a beggar, he fasted and did shocking penances for one year.
.
During that time the Lord gave him wonderful lights, and it was during this period that he conceived of the Spiritual Exercises, a method for helping people grow in faith. From then on, he would often give these Spiritual Exercises to various people, including many he met while on a course of study.
.
Joined by 9 companions, he laid the foundation for the order which would be called the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatius sent St. Francis Xavier to preach the Gospel in Indies, and he sent others to various parts of the world.
.
With a strong formation program of character and intellect, the Jesuits for centuries were very successful in converting many to the faith, opposing Protestantism, and founding schools and universities. Hardly a Catholic has not met a Jesuit at some time or another.
.
In his conversion, St. Ignatius learned an important principle which he would often refer people to: ‘If an idea or one’s plan repeatedly gives one peace and closeness to God, it is likely from God; if it brings about unease and confusion and a lack of peace, it is likely from the Enemy. This principle can help us in understanding and discerning God’s will in our life and in our decisions.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation