St. Ignatius of Loyola was canonized in March of 1622. He lived his life in the 1500s first as a carousing gambler and then eventually as a seeker of the Lord. He, day by day, chose “what better leads to the deepening of God’s life” in his own daily round. And he left us with many beloved prayers and reflections to savor. The way he chose to live his life gives many of us great comfort as we stumble through our own ups and downs.
Brother Frank Hagerty, S.S.E. reflected on St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Ascension of Jesus: Bringing About the Kingdom of God at Saint Anne’s Shrine on July 31. This was part of a summertime series that takes place in the Boucher Building each Wednesday.
“He’s been a buddy of mine,” Brother Frank said of St. Ignatius. With a little guitar playing and singing in-between a synopsis of the Saint’s life, Brother Frank educated a group of about 25 on not only the history, but the trail of uplifting glory that still bubbles within so many who strive to walk with this Patron Saint of Spiritual Retreats. How appropriate to be speaking of him at Saint Anne’s Shrine!
Without going into too much detail, it was when St. Ignatius was injured badly and bedridden that he was given three books to read. They were the Bible, The Imitation of Christ, and Lives of the Saints. Brother Frank said repetitive reading became a tool to let God lead him. “He became a genius at knowing what was going on inside himself,” Brother Frank said.
Through consolation and desolation, St. Ignatius was able to discern God’s will, step by step, within each day. “He found God didn’t want him to hurt himself,” Brother Frank said. “He wanted him to be whole and be himself. This is a good lesson for us as well.”
If utilized correctly, our emotions, imagination, humility, and prayers can also be valuable tools for living a blessed life. “If we get wrapped up in the pride of our own gifts, talents, and abilities, we lose God,” Brother Frank said. “St. Ignatius became so good at holding himself in balance. He sets a good example to follow—to let God be in control.”
The test is to ask ourselves at any given moment, “Whose flag am I holding right now? Christ the King’s flag or Satan’s?” And then to remember we are being called to humility. Jesus has an ongoing invitation for us to be his partner and to carry on his saving action. We are invited to care for each other, care for the environment, and care for the world around us, Brother Frank said.
This is a prayer that St. Ignatius recited every day, “Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day.” This was written by Saint Richard of Chichester who was a student at Oxford, taught by our one and only Saint Edmund of Canterbury.
Ultimately we understand through our own contemplation, and with help from Mother Mary and all of the Saints, that it’s all God’s Grace in action. “We are chosen for the Kingdom of Heaven,” Brother Frank said, “It is an invitation and our journey is to see this as a gift and to work at being a part of that every day.”
For a full list of our mid-summer series of events please visit http://www.sse.org/. See you at Saint Anne’s Shrine Chapel at 11:15 for Mass. For more information, call the Shrine at (802) 928-3362 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about The Society of Saint Edmund, our Edmundites, or choosing your vocation please visit http://www.sse.org/vocation.html or call Father Lino Oropeza at (802) 654-2344 or email him at email@example.com.
The heart of the Society of Saint Edmund’s mission is serving where the need is greatest, a credo that has led us to four core ministries: Social Justice, Education, Spiritual Renewal and Pastoral Ministry. It is through these core ministries that we live out a faith-based life of service and make a real difference in people’s lives by bringing them closer to God.