Posted by: fvbcdm | July 31, 2014

Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (31 July 2014)

Today is a special day for me for two reasons: first, it is the commemoration day of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. My father was educated by them; he and my mother were married by a Jesuit; I was baptized by one, and then I spent eight and a half years in Jesuit schools: high school and college. I have visited Saint Ignatius’s beautiful tomb in the church of the Gesu in Rome, and so feel a very special kinship with this great saint whose motto was “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” — for the greater glory of God.

The second reason is that two of my closest friends in high school became Jesuit priests, as did three others of that class. (Why didn’t I? Well, that’s another story! In any case, our high school class produced five Jesuits and one Dominican.)  My good friend Dan (Father Daniel Creagan, now in retirement at Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, where both my father and I went to school) was ordained to the priesthood on the feast of Saint Ignatius: July 31, 1958. He and one other of those five are still alive. Since I entered religious life later than they did, they were ordained in 1958 while I was still in the seminary, anticipating my own ordination in 1963.

These reminiscences about our youth, our education, our vocations, and many of the things that have happened in these 63 years since our graduation from high school make me deeply grateful to God for all of that. When Saint Ignatius was still a fairly young man and a soldier in a Spanish army, one of his legs was seriously injured by an enemy cannonball. While he was lying in bed, waiting for his leg to heal, he asked for books to read, wanting novels. But there were no novels there; only the bible and the lives of some saints, including our father, Saint Dominic. So reading the life of Saint Dominic and others who devoted their lives to the service of God and his Church, Ignatius was converted from a worldly career to a religious one. Today, because of my education I am a sort of son of Saint Ignatius, and by religious profession, a son of Saint Dominic. Interesting how these threads of influence were woven some four hundred years before I was born. In any case, I ask you to join me in thanking God today for his goodness to me, in praying for the Jesuits throughout the world as they celebrate their founder’s feast day, and in particular for my classmates who celebrate the golden jubilee of their ordination this year. 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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