Posted by: fvbcdm | August 1, 2013

Feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola (31 July 2013)

When I was a child in grade school, the Sisters required that we write on the top of our homework or test papers the letters “J.M.J.,” which stood for “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” But then when I went to Jesuit High School in New Orleans, there was a change: we were to write “A.M.D.G.” Those letters stand for “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam”: for the greater glory of God. It is the motto of the Jesuit Order, founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola, whose feast is July 31. He was a young Spanish soldier, born just a year after the discovery of America. Like most soldiers of the time, he was something of a playboy to whom religion meant very little. However, by the grace of God, his leg was shattered by a cannonball in a battle, and he had to spend months in recovery. He asked for books to read; the only books available were the Bible and lives of saints. They made a tremendous impression on him. And he determined that from thenceforth, he would go on soldiering, but this time in the army of Jesus, and the kingdom of God. He founded a new religious community which he called “The Company of Jesus,” using the word “company” in the military sense of a unit of troops. But the word got changed to “society,” and thus the official title of the Jesuits is “the Society of Jesus.”

Saint Ignatius died on this date in 1556: 457 years ago today. His “Society of Jesus” has accomplished wonders in the Church throughout the world. I am deeply grateful for the education that I received at their hands. Since Vatican II, many Jesuits have sadly embraced the rebellious and dissident attitudes that followed upon the council. Their many colleges and universities in this country are certainly not living up to their potential as a powerful force for solid Catholic education. But, please God, this is a phase that they are going through, and soon, the Society of Jesus as a whole will return to Saint Ignatius’s desire that his Society would be distinguished for its loyalty to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on earth. When that happens, they will again be able to exert the influence which has served the Church so well in the centuries since the death of Ignatius Loyola. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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