31 Jul – Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Born to the Spanish nobility. Youngest of twelve children. Page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Military education. Soldier, entering the army in 1517, and serving in several campaigns. Wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on 20 May 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of biographies of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him.
On his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim‘s robes. He lived in a cave from 1522 to 1523, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. Pilgrim to Rome and the Holy Land in 1523, where he worked to convert Muslims. In 1528 he began studying theology in Barcelona and Alcala in Spain, and Paris, France receiving his degree on 14 March 1534. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus on 15 August 1534; it received papal approval in 1541. Friend of James Lainez, Alonso Salmerón, Nicholas Bobadilla, Simón Rodriguez, Blessed Peter Faber, and Saint Francis Xavier, the group that formed the core of the new Society. He never used the term Jesuit, which was coined as an insult by his opponents; the Society today uses the term with pride. He travelled Europe and the Holy Lands, then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death.
The Jesuits today have over 500 universities and colleges, 30,000 members, and teach over 200,000 students each year.
– The Patron Saint Index
When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.
Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.
‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’
‘To sell everything and to own nothing’. I am so familiar with this, meaning, if I am to start comparing my financials with my peers, I may be a really sad person if money defines everything. However, I find myself in a position of opportunities and positivity, trying to keep my faith close to heart and God will provide the rest. Well, it is easy for me to feel this way because I have no debts and no mortgage at the moment, and perhaps I continue to build my goals and dreams. I have seen the really poor and worked for the really rich. I have lost much of my money in failed business and worked like a robot in a deskbound job. I have felt satisfaction at the end of the day and also felt aimless after a long day’s work. I believe I still have choices and all decisions have to be made in a God-centred state of mind in my prayers.
He gives us the courage to sell everything, He gives us the peace and joy to receive true treasures, He gives us the hope to live again in the kingdom of heaven. Everything else is transient. If we fail, stand up and try again. If we are lost, a path will open to victory once more. I open my heart briefly to share what I truly know and feel what I am capable of deep inside me; versus what the world and society feels I should be achieving. If God has knocked once, twice and three times for you to open your heart and have faith to where He will lead you, never hesitate to step into the unknown.
It has not been an easy month, and once again, the feeling of anxiety and unchartered waters return to me. This time, I face it with God. I will take that step and walk on water because I know God is with me. How about you? Are we feeling some kind of anxiety in our lives? With marriages, with our jobs, with our relationships? Are we ready to sell everything of comfort and seek our hearts hidden in the field?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: For those who continue to struggle with decisions and afraid to make the changes due to anxiety, we pray.
Thanksgiving: For those who felt the peace and happiness, together with God, pass on the strength on to others, we give thanks.