Posted by: fvbcdm | July 31, 2012

Feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola (31 July 2012)

Each summer, the end of July brings us to the commemoration of Saint Ignatius Loyola on July 31.  It is a special day in my calendar because Saint Ignatius founded the Jesuit Order, and that group of men had a very influential part in my young life.  In New Orleans, we often went to Mass at the “Jesuits on Baronne Street” as we called their church in the heart of the central business district, or to Holy Name church on the campus of Loyola University, a beautiful part of the city where the preaching and music were even better than in the Jesuit church downtown. 

 

In September of 1941 I began my career at Jesuit High School, and for me it was a very interesting change.  I had been taught by women all my life; now I was taught entirely by men—most Jesuit priests and seminarians, and a few lay teachers.  The approach was different, and high school was far more interesting and exciting than grade school had been.  This morning, we used the opening prayer of the Mass which says: Father, you gave Saint Ignatius of Loyola to your church to bring greater glory to your name.  And then, in the communion antiphon of that same Mass, we repeated the words of Jesus: “I have come to bring fire to the earth.”  Why those two choices of words today?  Because Saint Ignatius’s motto was, as we high school boys learned the very first day of high school, “Ad majorem Dei gloriam”: to the greater glory of God. And also because the name Ignatius comes from the Latin “Ignis,” meaning fire.  When we put our car key into the starter mechanism, we say that we have turned on “the ignition.”  We have fired up the vehicle: ignis, Ignatius, ignition.  The fire of God’s truth and love.

 

It was 71 years ago that I started high school.  Many very fine Jesuits have come into my life since then; I think of them and pray gratefully for them today.  Even my five classmates in high school who became Jesuits have all now died. So this feast of Saint Ignatius is very meaningful to me.  Saint Ignatius was a gift of God to me, to us.  So was and is the Jesuit Order for what it has done, and is doing, for the Church and the world. Let us be aware of these gifts, and be thankful.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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