Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
In the first reading for this feast day of Aloysius Gonzaga, we are reminded that there is no love apart from God’s commandments. Chief among those commandments, as the Gospel reminds us, are love of God and love of neighbor. For Aloysius, this love cost him his life. In the midst of a plague in Rome, Aloysius begged to be allowed to go among the sick and tend to them. Eventually, Aloysius himself contracted the plague, and died on the feast of Corpus Christi. John Paul II called the Eucharist the “school of love,” which truly teaches us how to pour ourselves out for another. Aloysius lived and died with that Eucharistic love.
However, Aloysius himself knew that he did not always have that love. As he himself remarked, “I am a rod of twisted iron. I entered religion [i.e., religious life] to get twisted straight.” Aloysius saw his time in the Jesuits as a time to conform himself to a rule of true love. Any true vocation has the same effect–it brings us outside of ourselves, asks of us things that we would not otherwise do, and teaches us to love those beyond us. In short, any true vocation helps bring us to a true love of God and neighbor. As with Aloysius, we, too, can be “twisted straight” in our states in life to have that same Eucharistic love.