Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Patron Saint of Jesuits & Soldiers

Saint Ignatius of LoyolaSaint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) Image: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) Born into a noble family on Christmas Eve in Spain Guipuzcoa, Ignatius served as a Page in the Spanish Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, later becoming a Soldier in the Spanish Army where he would become wounded during the ‘Siege of Pamplona’ in 1521

During Ignatius’ recovery he would read about the ‘Lives of the Saint’s’ and this experience led him to undergo a profound conversion which led him to dedicate his life to Catholicism.

After making a general confession in a Monastery in Montserrat, Ignatius proceeded to spend almost the entirety of the year in solitude and prayer, during which time he would write his famous Spiritual Exercises following which he would make a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land where he worked to convert Muslims to Christianity but could not remain as he had planned according to Franciscan Media because of the hostility of the Turks.

Ignatius would spend the next 11 years in various European universities, finally returning to Spain and then France where he would receive his degree in Theology — While many held him in contempt because of his Holy lifestyle, Ignatius’ wisdom and virtue attracted some followers and ‘The Society of Jesus’ (The Company of Jesus) was born.

In 1540 the ‘Society of Jesus’ received approval by Pope Paul III and it grew rapidly, Ignatius was elected to serve as its first General and became friends with St. Philip Neri (Feast Day: 26 May) During this time despite all that he had to do in the ‘Society’ Ignatius still found time to find homes for Orphans, Catechumens and Penitents. — Ignatius founded the ‘Roman College’ intended to be a model of all other colleges of the ‘Society of Jesus.’

Ignatius’ final years were spent in partial retirement according to EWTN the correspondence inevitable in governing the ‘Society of Jesus’ left him with no time for active ministry which in themselves he much preferred. Ignatius health began failing in his latter years and he was nearly blind by 1556 at the time of his death.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was Beatified in 1609 by Pope Paul V and Canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

On the 22 April, 2006 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI presided over a Eucharistic Celebration for the ‘Society of Jesus’ addressing the Fathers & Brothers of the Society present at the Vatican Basilica , calling to mind the dedication and fidelity of their founder saying:

“Saint Ignatius of Loyola was first and foremost a man of God who in his life put God, his greatest glory and his greatest service first. He was a profoundly prayerful man for whom the daily celebration of the Eucharist was the heart and crowning point of his day.

Thus he left his followers a precious spiritual legacy that must not be lost or forgotten. Precisely because he was a man of God, St. Ignatius  was a faithful servant of the Church, in which he saw and venerated the Bride of the Lord and the Mother of Christians and the special vow of obedience to the Pope which he himself describes as ‘our first and principal foundation’ was born from his desire to serve the Church in the most beneficial way possible.”

Today the Jesuits (The Company of Jesus) have more than 500 universities and colleges together with more than 30,000 members that teach more than 200,000 students annually.

More here from American Catholic

Related: Pope Francis Homily on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Peter Chrysologus

St Peter ChrysologusSaint Peter Chrysologus –Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(CNA) Born in Italy Imola in 406 Peter Chrysologus was an adult convert to Christianity — Following his study of Theology, Peter was Ordained a Deacon by Imola’s local Bishop Cornelius, whom he greatly admired and regarded as his spiritual father.

Bishop Cornelius, Peter’s mentor is credited with teaching Peter the values of humiliated and self-denial which benefited him as he lived as a Monk for many years, embracing a lifestyle of self-discipline, simplicity and prayer. Peter’s simple monastic lifestyle however would come to an end in 430 subsequent to the death of Archbishop John of Ravenna — Following this, the Clergy and the people of Ravenna chose a successor asking Cornelius (still the Bishop of Imola) to journey to Rome and obtain Papal approval of their candidate. Bishop Cornelius would take Peter with him, then still a Deacon to see Pope Sixtus III

Tradition relates that Pope Sixtus III had experienced a vision from God on the night before the meeting with Bishop Cornelius and Peter, commanding him to overrule Ravenna’s choice of a new Archbishop — Pope Sixtus  subsequently declared that Peter was to be Ordained as the new Archbishop to replace the late Archbishop John of Ravenna.

In Ravenna the new Archbishop Peter was received warmly by the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III and his mother Galla Placidia, she is said to have given him the title ‘Chrysologus’ (signifying ‘Golden Speech’) because of his preaching skills.

Throughout the Archdiocese, Bishop Peter Chrysologus encountered the surviving remnants of paganism along with the various abuses and distortions of Catholicism — Bishop Peter Chrysologus would exercise zeal and pastoral care in curbing these abuses while evangelizing non-Christians during his leadership of the Church in Ravenna.

One of the major heresies of his day was ‘Monophysitism’ which held that Christ did not possess a distinct human nature in union with his eternal divine nature. Bishop Peter Chrysologus labored to prevent the westward spread of this error promoted from Constantinople by Eutyches.

Archbishop Peter Chrysologus also would make improvements to Ravenna’s Cathedral, together with overseeing the construction of several new Churches. Near the end of his life he addressed a significant letter to Eutyches in 448 stressing the Pope’s authority in the monophysite controversy.

Sometime before his death in 450 Bishop Peter Chrysologus returned to Imola his birthplace — In 451 the Church would officially condemn monophysitism.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

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Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Martha, Patron Saint of Homemakers

Saint MarthaSaint Martha — Image Courtesy: Archbishop Jose Gomez

(EWTN) Mary, Martha and Lazarus were close friends and are represented by St. John (Feast Day: 27 December) as living at Bethania but St. Luke (Feast Day: 18 October) would seem to imply that they were at least at one time, living in Galilee, without mentioning the town but it may have been Magdala and we should therefore suppose that ‘Mary of Bethania’ and St. Mary Magdalene (Feast Day: 22 July) are the same person.

There isn’t any doubt that Martha was an active sort of person according to Franciscan Media — On one occasion Luke 10:38-42 Martha is seen preparing the meal for Jesus and served the dinner.

Yet as Biblical scholar Fr. John McKenzie (1910-1991) pointed out, Martha need not be rated as a “unrecollected activist.” The Evangelist is emphasizing what Our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual:

  • “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on…seek first His kingdom and his righteousness…” Matthew 6: 25-33
  • “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.” —Luke 4:4
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” —Matthew 5:6

St. Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death: “Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.” —John 11:25-27

Scripture commentators point out that in writing his account of the raising of Lazarus, St. John intends that we should see Martha’s words to Mary before Lazarus was raised as a summons that every Christian must obey. In Martha saying: “The Teacher is here and is calling for you,” John 11:28

Jesus is calling every one of us to resurrection–now in Baptismal faith, forever in sharing His victory over death and all of us, as well as these three friends, are in our own unique way, called to special friendship with Him.

More here from American Catholic and here from EWTN

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