Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Born in 1491, in Azpeitia, Spain, Ignatius grew up dreaming of becoming a knight in the Spanish army. With an affinity for the military, its structure and leadership, Ignatius followed through on his dream. However, in a battle against the French in 1521, Ignatius was struck by a cannon ball – between his legs! Ouch!
Saint Ignatius – Soldier for Christ
While recuperating, over an extended period, he grew restless. Therefore, to combat the boredom, the hospital staff brought him the only books they had available to read. One book was about Christ, and another about the saints. In reading these books, Ignatius recognized the obedience to Christ and the perfection of the saints as similar to the attributes of dedicated army personnel. The inspiration of Christ and the saints created a desire within Ignatius to do great things for Christ. Upon completion of his convalescence, Ignatius made his confession at the sanctuary of Montserrat, Spain. From there, he hung up his sword to dedicate his life to Christ.
Priest and Educator
Not knowing exactly what God had in mind, Ignatius moved to Paris to pursue a Master’s degree in Education, which he obtained in 1535. While obtaining his Master’s degree, Ignatius became friends with a group of men. They all decided to take vows of poverty and chastity. Then, in 1537, Ignatius and his friends were ordained to the priesthood. Together, they formed what we know today as the Society of Jesus, (or the Jesuits). Saint Ignatius was appointed the first general of the Society of Jesus.
The Jesuits – Beholders of Virtue
Thanks to Saint Ignatius’ love for Christ, today’s Society of Jesus is well known for their missionary nature, educating capabilities, and their virtues of chastity, obedience, discernment and leadership. These are the charisms of the Jesuits.
So, today, we celebrate the man, as well as the example he set for us to follow. We enjoy the fruits of his labors: The Jesuits and all the wonderful things that they do to bring Christ to us. Happy feast day, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. You were, and continue to be, a dedicated soldier for Christ. Please pray for us!
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