Posts Tagged ‘St. Ignatius of Loyola’
Photos by Father Roy Sebastian, S.J., Jesuit Curia
Pope Francis celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius on July 31 with more than 200 of his fellow Jesuits at Mass in Rome’s Church of the Gesù, where St. Ignatius is buried. The pope prayed that he and his fellow Jesuits would receive “the grace of shame” for their failures and the humility to recognize that whatever good they accomplish is really done by the Lord.
During his homily, Pope Francis said that Jesus told his disciples never to be ashamed of following him, but Jesuits are taught to look upon the crucifix and “feel that very human and very noble sentiment which is shame for not measuring up.”
Jesuit Father James E. Grummer, assistant for the USA Assistancy and General Counselor at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, was one of the U.S. Jesuits in attendance and said one of the most moving parts of the Mass was during the homily when Pope Francis mentioned two images about the end of life that “sum up our vocation for him: Francis Xavier and Pedro Arrupe. Francis was within reach of his dream but unable to reach it; Pedro was slowly stripped of everything the world holds important as he found himself entirely in the hands of God.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Mass was “very beautiful and very familial.”
In his spirituality and spiritual tradition, Fr. Lombardi said the pope sees himself as a “son of St. Ignatius” and feels “very close to the Society of Jesus.”
The pope’s homily was filled with references to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, meditations and instructions for a 30-day retreat that form the basis of Ignatian spirituality.
The exercises, Pope Francis said, are designed to remind Jesuits that Christ and the church must be at the center of all they do; that they must allow themselves to be conquered by Christ in order to serve; and that they must feel shame in order to be humble before God and other people.
Father General Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, prayed for “Francis our brother, the bishop of Rome” during the Eucharistic Prayer.
“The phrase articulated the way the liturgy felt,” said Fr. Grummer. “Francis may be Supreme Pontiff, but he thinks of himself as our brother and wants us to think of him that way too.”
At the end of the Mass, the pope prayed at the tomb of St. Ignatius, before a relic of St. Francis Xavier and at the tomb of Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe, superior of the Society from 1965 to 1983.
“The pope placed a bouquet of flowers in front of the memorial plaque [where Arrupe is buried], prayed there and reverently touched the plaque before making the sign of the cross,” said Fr. Grummer.
Other U.S. Jesuits in attendance included Fathers Anthony Sholander, vice rector, minister and treasurer of Collegio Internazionale del Gesù in Rome, and Kenneth Gavin, assistant international director of Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome — who both helped distribute communion — and scholastic Eric Ramirez, who served as an acolyte. [Catholic News Service]
A little-known day of Jesuit thanksgiving was celebrated on March 12 to mark the canonizations of two of the most famous Jesuits: St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. Every year on that date, each Jesuit offers a special prayer or Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of the saints’ canonizations, which occurred on March 12, 1622 — 66 years after the death of Ignatius and 70 years after the death of Xavier.
The founder of the Society of Jesus, Ignatius lived most of his priestly life in a small room in Rome, directing the newly founded Society. Francis Xavier, one of the Society’s most well-known missionaries, lived most of his Jesuit life traveling around Asia, preaching and baptizing.
Pope Gregory XV was responsible for canonizing the two Jesuits, and he held religious orders in high esteem. The pope was educated by the Jesuits at the “Collegio Romano,” the university founded by Ignatius in Rome that is now known as the Gregorian University.
On the same day Ignatius and Francis Xavier were canonized, Pope Gregory XV also canonized Teresa of Avila, reformer of the Carmelites; Philip Neri, founder of the Oratorian Fathers; and Isidore of Madrid, a simple but devout farmer, now patron of farmers, peasants, day laborers and rural communities.
The grouping of these five dissimilar saints took some by surprise and illustrated that there is no mold for being holy or even for becoming a canonized saint. Pope Gregory XV was never canonized, but he did keep his connection to the Jesuit saints. The pope was buried in the Church of Saint Ignatius in Rome when he died in 1623. [Society of Jesus in Thailand]
St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491 to a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man, Ignatius Loyola was a soldier and dreamed of doing great deeds. But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, he experienced a conversion while reading of the lives of Jesus and the saints.
St. Ignatius’ collection of insights, prayers and suggestions in his book the Spiritual Exercises is considered one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. When Ignatius conceived the Jesuits, he wanted them to become “contemplatives in action.” This is also an ideal for those who are guided by Ignatian spirituality and who continually strive to follow St. Ignatius’ motivation to “find God in all things”.
Marquette University has also created this short video piece on the story behind the founder of the Jesuit order as told by Stephanie Russell, executive director of Marquette University’s Office of Mission and Identity.