Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels
No doubt, the last of the birthday cake has been eaten which all of you had in honor of the 474th anniversary of the founding of Society of Jesus which occurred on September 27, 1540. Perhaps a more interesting anniversary occurred on August 7, 2014, a day which marked the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus. Both anniversaries were celebrated at the Gesù church in Rome, the mother Church of the Society of Jesus when Jesuits gathered with their pope and Jesuit brother, Pope Francis to give thanks for the restoration of the Society of Jesus. Two hundred years ago Pope Pius VII had this to say about the Jesuits when he officially restored the order. (Remember that back then, popes and Kings referred themselves as “we” since they represented a body of people)
“For we would think ourselves guilty of a grave crime in the sight of the Lord, if amid such needs of the public weal we were to neglect to make use of the salutary aids which in his singular Providence God has supplied to us, and if we tossing and turning in the continuous whirlpools in which the bark of Peter finds itself, were to refuse the strong and expert oarsmen who offer themselves to us to break through the waves of the sea that every moment threatens us with shipwreck and destruction.”
The decorative language typical of the early 19th century is saying that the Jesuits were expert at helping the church navigate through rough waters. Let us take this occasion to pray for the Society of Jesus, that they continue in the tradition of helping the church through rough times and that young men look to work that needs to be done and combined with God’s grace and their strength, get on board and help God’s church through a Jesuit vocation.