Commemoration of St. Henry
Memory is a very important blessing. By it one can recall the great beauties of creation even from within the small confines of the city; one can relish again and again the words and loving deeds of dear friends, even long after they are gone; one can even share in the divine activity of the Lord who never forgets us. (Is 49:15)
Today’s first reading gives us an example of why it is important to cherish the capacity to remember. A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt. (Ex 1:8) He did not know Joseph. He did not remember the years of famine through which that non-Egyptian administrator had wisely guided the nation of Egypt. He did not remember some rather important blessings received. With what result? He says, Look how numerous and powerful the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves! (Ex 1:9) Pharaoh saw the prosperity of the children of Israel as nothing but a threat to his own power and possessions. When we forget the gifts of the Lord, we begin to envy strongly the goods of our neighbors.
This may have been one of the reasons why St. Ignatius wanted Jesuits to be constantly praying with their memory in their meditations and examens. It may be why he wanted them to be very specific when they offered Masses, remembering by name the people who had helped them. It may be why St. Peter Faber, St. Ignatius’ friend, would write down in his diary the names of families who were kind enough to provide him with food and lodging on his apostolic missions, thanking God for them long after he had left their homes.
Today, ask the Lord to enlighten your memory, and to help you recall one kind person who He has given you when you were in need. For the gift of that person offer a prayer of thanks to God.