Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

The Spiritual Exercises, first experienced by St. Ignatius and then shared to all of the Society of Jesus and to the whole Church concludes with an exercise called the “Contemplation to Attain the Love of God”.  In this exercise, Ignatius outlines the very definition of love itself.  First, love manifests itself in deeds more than words, and second, consists of a mutual sharing of goods.  The exercise ends with the famous deeply challenging prayer known as the Suscipe; “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.”  St. Aloysius is a young man in the sixteenth century who lived this prayer to the full.  As part of a wealthy noble family, there was no reason for him to get involved with the least Society of Jesus.  And yet, the Lord instilled in him this divine love of an unconditional surrender for the sake of a cause so much bigger than any selfish motivations.  And, surrender he did as he spent his life ministering to plague victims in Rome before he became ill and quickly died at age twenty-three.  Through the life of the saints we see this divine love manifest in the midst of our humanity.  As we pray the Suscipe, may our words, thoughts, and especially actions bring forth this divine love into the world that is in desperate need of this saving love.

June 21st, 2016