Tuesday, 31 July 2007

For the Feast of the Other St Ignatius

Today is the feast day of St Ignatius of Loyola, so it is perhaps fitting to take a moment to contemplate the great work he achieved to the greater glory of God- the Society of Jesus.
Yes, I know, it has seen better days. Notwithstanding JPII's wake-up call to the Society (I don't know what Benedict has said to them since his election), its in a pretty shabby state these days. But that should not cause those affected by the work of the Society in one way or another to despair. There are isolated stars in that noble constellation even now, men who have not bowed the knee to Baal (I can think of three I know of off-hand- Fr Joseph Fessio, Fr Greg Jordan & Fr Paul Mankowski- and no doubt there are others) who could still look their Society's founder in the eye.

Nor should we forget the days of its greatness. The Jesuits were intended to be the Church's cavalry. For how many centuries of their existence have they fulfilled this lofty mandate? And with what courage? Time was when the leaders of Europe imagined that if they could eliminate the Jesuits they could eliminate the Church itself within a generation (the French Revolution demonstrated how close to the truth they were). The English martyrs, the missionaries to China, to South America, the Bollandists, these demand to be remembered and their achievements lauded.
The Society of Jesus has a heritage of greatness in administering grace, of Spirit-inspired creativity in spreading the good news, of indomitable courage in the face of adversity and of the unknown. Let us pray that the Society once again in our time lives up to its rightful birthright, to the fidelity to Christ and His Church to which its founder committed it, to the spiritual greatness it has known and might know again.

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