A Message from Father Nick 72
For the greater glory of God
On the subject of “saints” and “sinners”, we should perhaps note that the distinction is really not so simple – no saint is entirely free from sin. Nevertheless, we admire those men and women who have persevered against the kind of difficulties which can so often defeat us. We recognise that their lives are more in harmony with their gifts.
On 31st July we celebrated the special day of St Ignatius Loyola (pictured above), whose gifts emerged at a time when the Church was facing unprecedented changes: the Protestant Reformation; the age of discovery; the beginning of a modern, interconnected world. Ignatius brought new focus to the Church’s mission.
His baptismal name was Inigo and he came from the Basque country. He was born in the castle of Loyola in 1491, the year before two momentous events: the fall of the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, and Columbus reaching America. As a young man he became a soldier of fortune – brave, vain and ambitious for a life of glory.
However, his leg was broken by a cannon-ball at the siege of Pamplona and then badly set, spoiling the fine contour of his dancer’s leg. Ignatius had the leg broken again so that it could be properly reset, before realising that his courage was worthy of a nobler cause. He began to read the Gospel and the lives of the saints, and these transformed his ambitions.
He first sought out a place of seclusion, where for a year he gave himself to prayer and wrote the first draft of his Spiritual Exercises. After begging his way on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he undertook a course of studies in the universities of Spain. From there he went to Paris, graduating as a master of arts in 1534. While in Paris, he began to gather the little group of six who would become the first members of his Society of Jesus. This was the nucleus of the “Jesuit” order.
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