Pondering for Wednesday July 31, 2019

Readings for Ignatius Loyola; Mystic, Educator, Preacher, and Founder of the Jesuits (31 July 1556)

1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1 Psalm 34:1-8 Luke 9:57-62

“I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles.” (Psalm 34:6)

July 31 is the Remembrance of Ignatius of Loyola Priest and Monastic, 1556

“Ignatius was born into a noble Basque family in 1491. In his autobiography, he tells us, “Up to his twenty-sixth year, he was a man given over to the vanities of the world and took special delight in the exercise of arms with a great and vain desire of winning glory.” An act of reckless heroism at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521 led to his being seriously wounded. During his convalescence at Loyola, Ignatius experienced a profound spiritual awakening. Following his recovery and an arduous period of retreat, a call to be Christ’s knight in the service of God’s kingdom was deepened and confirmed.” (From Great Cloud of Witnesses for July 31)

I joined the Episcopal Church through Baptism at the Easter Vigil of 1980 at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee.  I was going through a divorce that brought me to my knees.  I was in spiritual despair.  All I could remember was my formative years at St Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Nashville, Tennessee as a child.  But that was enough to make me believe that the Church would help me with my shaken state of mind.  I got with a military friend and he took me to St Anne’s.  The rest is history. I too, like Ignatius, began a new journey as a knight of Christ.

It has been, and still is, a long journey.  I stayed in the Marines, got divorced and later married again. The Psalmist’ words have meaning for me. “I called in my affliction and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles.” I am no Ignatius but I do have a ministry that I love.

I began to attend college when off duty throughout the years and I stayed in church from the 1980’s on.  I have been up and down with God. But God has remained faithful with me.  I am thankful for the love of God in my life. Ignatius too, had hills to climb before his call to ministry.

“The fact that Ignatius was an unschooled layman made him suspect in the eyes of church authorities and led him, at the age of 37, to study theology at the University of Paris in preparation for the priesthood. While there, Ignatius gave the Exercises to several of his fellow students; and in 1534, together with six companions, he took vows to live lives of strict poverty and to serve the needs of the poor. Thus, what later came to be known as the Society of Jesus was born.” (From Great Cloud of Witnesses for July 31) This is the birth of the Jesuits.

I am amazed at how many of the Saint’s lives are like my own, and like yours also. I did not grow up “Churched.”  It was sadness that brought me back to God. My Marine friend was in the right place at the right time in my life. This is Gods doing and it truly is marvelous in my eyes. Put your trust in God and God will never abandon you, in this world or the next.

Let us ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+

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