21 Jun – Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Born to the Italian nobility who grew up in a castle, the son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, a prince in the Holy Roman Emperor and a compulsive gambler. Cousin of Saint Rudolph Acquaviva. Trained from age four as a soldier and courtier. Served as a page in the Spanish court. He suffered from kidney disease, which he considered a blessing as it left him bed-ridden with time for prayer. While still a boy himself, he taught catechism to poor boys. He received his First Communion from Saint Charles Borromeo. At age 18, Aloysius signed away his legal claim to his family’s lands and title to his brother, and became a Jesuit novice. Spiritual student of Saint Robert Bellarmine. Tended plague victims in Rome, Italy in the outbreak of 1591 during which he caught the disease that killed him at age 23.
– The Patron Saint Index
2 Chronicles 24:17-25
After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came to pay court to the king, and the king now turned to them for advice. The Judaeans abandoned the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, for the worship of sacred poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. He sent them prophets to bring them back to the Lord, but when these gave their message, they would not listen. The spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, ‘God says this, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord to no good purpose? You have deserted the Lord, now he deserts you.”’ They then plotted against him and by order of the king stoned him in the court of the Temple of the Lord. King Joash, forgetful of the kindness that Jehoiada, the father of Zechariah, had shown him, killed Jehoiada’s son who cried out as he died, ‘The Lord sees and he will avenge!’
When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and executed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king at Damascus all that they had plundered from them. Though the Aramaean army had by no means come in force, the Lord delivered into its power an army of great size for having deserted him, the God of their ancestors.
The Aramaeans treated Joash as he had deserved, and when they retired they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the Citadel of David, though not in the tombs of the kings.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself
Before my departure for the Philippines in May, I experienced emotional turbulence within me. It was my first flight, and I was both nervous and excited at the same time. I tried every method that helped to calm my nerves. However, nothing worked. But when I finally arrived, relief washed over me as I knew that I had landed on holy land. I enjoyed myself in my personal retreat and holiday, as God provided everything that I needed. I did not flinch at the fear of danger as I knew I was in the hands of my Guardian Angel.
It is natural to have human emotions and to handle them can be challenging. It is a greater challenge, however, to make the leap of faith in spite of our emotions. Lord Jesus teaches us in the Gospel that we should not be fussy and depend on the material world around us to feed our needs and wants. He encourages us instead to recognize the needs of others, whom we cannot reach. We are to go out of our comfort zones and do what God wants us to do, like serving the Church ministries, feeding the poor and comforting the unfortunate.
I was struck by the poverty in the Philippines. Their laws do not permit the providence of any money to the poor, but food and clothes is allowed. For my case, I met many deaf people who were jobless. Yet they were very happy, as if nothing had happened. They provoked within me thoughts on my life. I had everything I needed, like a roof over my head, food and clothes. Yet I still complained. Upon deeper reflection, I realized that my mission was to reach out to deaf people, whom others could not reach, since we shared the same world of hearing disability. I invite you to take a moment too, and reflect on your life – what is your mission?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Michael Goo)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for everything we have. We offer you our prayers for the poor and unfortunate. Please aid them and let them know that You truly care for them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for His Providence.