Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops
Saint Ignatius of Loyola hardly knew his mother because she died shortly after his birth. The young Ignatius was raised by a nurse, Maria de Garin, who taught him to pray. After the marriage of his elder brother, Martin, Ignatius’ sister-in-law, Magdalena de Araoz, became a mother figure to him. Magdalena’s religious books later became pivotal in Ignatius’ conversion.
In Saint Paul’s letter to Timothy, we hear a story similar to that of Saint Ignatius in which there are two women who play pivotal roles in Timothy’s life: his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Saint Paul believed that Timothy inherited his faith from these two women. Let us pause for a moment and remember our own grandmother and mother, or any maternal figure that has played an important role in our lives. Let us count all of the blessings and love that we have received from them.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.