Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in Aeternum! Amen.
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and spiritual fathers! May God bless and Mary keep all father’s and grant them the grace to perservere in their vocations! I sure hope you all thanked the priests in your life as well … remember, the priest is a father of souls. The priest is the only one who can bring us the Eucharist in which we encounter Christ Himself. It is only through the priest that we can partake in the unfathomable mercy of God in the sacrament of Penance. I am blessed to have quite a few priests whom I count as very good friends, they are wonderful role models for me though I have no collar ambitions. Their example of dedication to God and His Church applies to all vocations. Their selfless love of others above themselves is also an example to follow.
All right, let us move into day five of our novena to good Saint Aloysius by asking Our Lady to be Lady of every aspect of our lives following his example …
O Holy Mary, my Mistress,
into thy blessed trust and special keeping,
into the bosom of thy tender mercy,
this day, everyday of my life and at the hour of my death,
I commend my soul and body;
to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life,
that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits,
all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!
Today we are going to look at Saint Aloysius’ filial devotion to Our Lady.
From the very beginning of his life, Aloysius had a deep love for Our Lady. It is said that soon after his baptism, his godfather took him to the altar of Our Lady in the church, laid him on it, and offered his godson to her as her property and possession. This was the beginning of a lifelong relationship between him and Our Lady. When Aloysius was a young boy and under the influence of his father the Marquis, who wanted him to become a soldier and a diplomat, he picked up some of the habits of a soldier: he stole gunpowder and shot off a cannon and he picked up some of the rough language of the soldiers. His mother saw her dear son whom she knew was to become a priest (though her husband dismissed it as an impossibility) and prayed to Our Lady to help this dear son of hers to change from his bad habits.
Well, Our Lady answered her prayers. Aloysius had a conversion at a very young age. He would speak of that pre-conversion period with great penitence. It was almost as if he lived the remainder of his life to make up for the poor habits he had picked up.
After his conversion, his devotion to Our Lady grew all the more ardent. He saw her example of modesty, humility, and complete dependence on Divine Providence and was determined to follow her example along with that of her Son. Our Lady was the guiding star of his life. Wherever he went and whatever he did, he was always sure to visit one or more of her shrines or altars. He spent countless hours praying before the image of Our Lady at the Annuziata and it was there that his vocation was made clear to him. It was before that image of Our Lady that he gave his heart to her to do with it what she pleased. It was also before this image of Our Lady that he pledged his virginity to her.
Mary was ever on the mind and heart of this good saint. While other nobles were considering what to wear to the next ball or event, Aloysius was planning his next visit to a Marian shrine or how he could slip away to find a private place to pray.
He imitated her in never wishing to call attention to himself aka humility. Whenever anything good were to happen to him or someone else, he would always credit God. Whenever he had done something good and someone pointed it out, he always pointed to God as the source of it with him as His instrument.
He imitated her in his dependence on Providence. When he was facing much resistance to his pursuing his vocation, he remained obedient to his family inasmuch that he did not go contrary to what he knew God wanted of him. He knew that though he was facing resistance at first, the Lord would touch their hearts enough that he would soon enter the Jesuits and follow through with his vocation. His trust in Providence paid off in that his father, who fell ill not long before Aloysius left for Rome, relented in his design to get Aloysius to either completely give up on becoming a priest or at the very least becoming a secular priest so he could still maintain some of the power and wealth to which he was entitles by his noble birth and allowed him to begin formation.
He imitated her in his purity. It is said that he never looked a woman in the eyes; his eyes were always cast down to the ground. He would become ill when conversation around him turned to sinful things. If that happened, besides his physical reaction, he would try to change the subject into something more edifying. They say he would not even let his valet see him unclothed. He avoided being in the company of women, especially alone.
Some may think that some of Aloysius’ practices are backwards and naive. Some might even say they demonstrate a personality disorder or excessive modesty. They miss the point.
Imagine if Aloysius were alive today! With the culture we are in, he would be living an even more penitential life to make reparation for the sinfulness of society and its egocentricism.
Aloysius’ devotion to Our Lady and how he lived that devotion is an example to us all. Our Lady is a model of the ideal Christian life. Sure we may not have been immaculately conceived but that does not mean that we cannot try to follow after her lead. Aloysius was abundantly aware that if he followed Our Lady, he would be even closer to Christ. Through authentic Marian devotion, we encounter the true end of it, union with Christ.
All right, I have to hit the sack. I have to be up early all this week to go to 7am Mass and then VBS from 9-12pm. Tomorrow also brings my grad school interview at 2pm. Prayers please! Thank you!
Have a nice evening!