From soldier to priest to saint, he let God transform his life
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31, 2020): JER 26:1-9; PS 69:5,8-10,14; MT 13:54-58
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
“For the greater glory of God” (Ad majorem Dei gloriam) – this is the motto of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola along with several companions in 1540. He had been born the youngest of 13 children of a noble Basque family. Ignatius served as a military officer for several years until his leg was badly injured by a cannonball, causing him to limp for the rest of his life. As he recovered, he read a number of books about Jesus and the saints. It was at this point that he made a break with his former worldly way of life and instead went to a cave where he contemplated his life and what God asked of him. Ignatius confessed his sins and devoted himself to praying and fasting while he also endured spiritual trials. It was during this period that Ignatius started developing his Spiritual Exercises that are still popular today. He studied theology and Latin at different universities, finally receiving a degree in Paris when in his 40s. He and six other men who wanted to devote themselves to serve the Church with special allegiance to the Pope and to help the people of God around the world formed the Society of Jesus. While Ignatius had hoped to go to the missions himself, he instead remained in Rome to guide the growing order.
St. Ignatius of Loyola tried to express charity in all he did. He wrote, “Love consists in sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than words.” He died on this date in 1156 at age 64 and is the patron of retreats. Today, the Jesuits are the largest order for men in the Church. Pope Francis is the first of their members to be elected to the papacy.
Suggested missionary action: Let us pray to St. Ignatius of Loyola asking him to help us meditate on the meaning of asking God to help us truly live and die in His service. We can also seek his help in choosing to always do everything for His greater glory. And let us offer a prayer for Pope Francis, himself a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which St. Ignatius founded.