Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.
Feast/Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
Did I say “novena?” I totally meant “octave” or “novena with one day missing.”
I honest to God was planning on writing something last night but something came up and by the time it was over it was late and I could scarcely pray my Office let alone write a blog post.
So yeah, it’s an octave now. Thank the Lord for Holy Mother Church’s different ways of commemorating things.
I went to Mass this morning, prayed my Office, did VBS, “bought” three Masses (the 2013 Mass book was opened today), and headed to Trattoria for my Name Day lunch. Had a nice panini that would have been Friday-friendly if it did not have bacon in it. Thank God it wasn’t Friday. It was dee-lesh-us. I also had a drink (it was after 10!) and probably downed about five glasses of water. After eating my tasty sammich and watching the first three innings of the Tigers game, I made my way home.
Dang it was warm. Not as warm and humid as yesterday but it was still … blech. I could feel the sweat dripping down the back of my neck. Thank the Lord I got my hair cut. My longer hair would have been drenched.
I got home, went to my room, checked my email (nothing really important), and decided that I needed to take care of my sweat-soaked mop. I went into my mother’s bathroom, turned on the bathtub tap on cold-cold-cold and stuck my head under the strong stream of icy water.
The feeling of the surge of cold icy water on the back of my head, down my neck, and over my face was … delicious. I didn’t even care if it got in my ears … it felt … wonderful. My angel must have been blocking them because I have no idea how not a drop of water got into them.
I reluctantly pulled my head out of the stream of water and let it drip down my back thus soaking my top but it was worth it. I brushed my hair out and just vegged. It’s too warm to do anything and I was enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty house.
Now about that octave aka “novena minus one” …
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!
Well, now that we are at the end our of octave/modified novena, I can give the final part of Aloysius’ life.
To refresh our memories from last week, Aloysius has been allowed to enter the Jesuits and has entered formation. He is sent to Milan for his studies but his weak health leads his superiors to send him back to Rome. While in Rome studying, he has a vision of Saint Gabriel who tells him that he will die within a year.
In 1591, the Black Plague broke out in Rome. To respond to the needs of the afflicted, the Jesuits opened a hospital. Aloysius wanted to help with the efforts but his superiors, afraid that he would contract the disease and succumb to it, put him in a ward with persons who were not ill with plague.
However, the Lord had another plan for his soon-to-be-saint, it just happened that one man in his ward was already inflected with the illness and since he was working in such close proximity (he would carry patients), he contracted plague.
Not long before his 23rd birthday (6 days), he began to show symptoms of the plague. It seemed imminent that he would soon die from the disease so he was given Extreme Unction. Surprisingly he seemed to make a rebound from the disease but he was just as weak as ever.
While ill, he had many conversations with his confessor and spiritual director: Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (yes, the one who is now known as Saint Robert Bellarmine). In one of their conversations, Aloysius shared that he had a vision where it was revealed to him that he would die on the Octave of Corpus Christi (don’t ask me why we got rid of that one).
On 21 June, the day that happened to be the end of the Octave, Aloysius woke up and seemed all right but he insisted that he would not live to see the next day.
He was right.
Soon, he began to become weak and Saint Robert gave him Last Rites.
Aloysius died just before midnight.
The night of his death, Carmelite mystic, Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi had a vision of him in glory because he had lived a particularly strong spiritual life.
Aloysius was buried in the Church of the Annunziata in Rome which later became the Church of Sant’Ignazio. At a later time, his head was transferred to the basilica bearing his name in Castiglione delle Stiviere.
In 1605, he was beatified only fourteen years after his death (back before the reforms of John Paul II, the typical wait was 50 years after the death of the person to open the cause for canonization) by Pope Paul V. Then in 1726, he was canonized along with fellow Jesuit novice, Stanislaus Kostka, by Pope Benedict XIII. In 1729, he was declared the patron of young students and then in 1926 was declared the universal patron of youth by Pope Pius XI. He has always been considered the patron of plague victims since he died by the disease.
I am hoping that by this exercise, you have learned more about this holy saint. I hope it inspires you to look at the saints after whom you are named (baptismal and confirmation). The saints are our connection in heaven next to Our Lady. A person who lacks devotion to Our Lady and the saints does not know what one is missing. The opportunities for growing in grace that are afforded us by the example of the saints alone is indispensable. Grow to love the saints. Love your heavenly patrons! They can help you in more ways than you know!
Now that we are done with this meditation on the life and virtues of good Saint Aloysius, we can now offer a prayer of consecration to Saint Aloysius:
O glorious Saint Aloysius, honered by the Church with the title of “Angelic Youth” for the eminent purity of thy life on earth, to thee I offer myself this day with all the devtion of my mind and heart, and to thee I consecrate myself entirely. O perfect example, O kind and powerful protector of youth, how much I have need of thee. The world and the devil lay snares for me; I feel the fire of my passions; I know the weakness and inconstancy of my age. Who can protect me if not thou, o angelic saint, the glory, ornament, love and mainstay of the young? To thee, then, with all my mind and heart I have recourse; in thee I confide; to thee I consecrate myself.
Therefore I firmly purpose and resolve to be especially devout to thee, to glorify thee for thy lofty virtues, and especially for thy angelic purity; to imitate thy example, to promote devotion to thee among my companions, and to invoke and bless to the end of my life thy dear and holy name. To thee I consecrate my soul, my senses, my heart, and all my being.
O dear Saint Aloysius, today I am all thine,a nd thine I wish to remain forever. Oh, protect, defend, and preserve me as thy possession, that through honoring thee I may be better able to serve and honor Jesus and Mary, and come one day with thee to see and bless my God forever in Paradise.
Have a nice night!