Pastor’s Corner for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
On July 31, is the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus who passed away on this day in the year 1556. In 1491 Inigo de Loyola was born in northern Spain. He was the youngest of 13 children. In 1508 At the age of 16, Inigo left his home to serve as a page for Juan Velazques, treasurer of the kingdom of Castile. He was frequently at court and developed a taste for the material world.
He eventually became an officer in the Spanish army in 1521. On May 20, at the battle of Pamplona, his leg was broken by a cannon ball, and he was bedridden for the next year. During his difficult recovery, Inigo asked for books about chivalry, his favorite reading. There weren’t any at the family castle where he recuperated, so he had to settle for a book about the life of Christ and biographies of the saints. He got fascinated by the life of St Francis of Assisi and Catherine of Siena. He also noticed something strange happening to him. He realized that God was working within him — prompting, guiding, inviting.
In March of 1522, Ignatius was well enough to leave home with a newfound zeal to serve God. He came to the shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat and kept a vigil all night. He left his sword at the altar and gave his fine clothes to a poor man. He cast aside his life as a noble soldier and dressed himself in rough clothes and sandals to take up the life of a poor pilgrim. He lived in a cave outside the town of Manresa. Ignatius began writing about the emotions that took hold of him — feelings of gratitude and anguish, consolation, and sadness — while encountering scripture. It was here where he started work on what would become the Spiritual Exercises. In 1524 Ignatius felt a calling to the priesthood but did not have the educational requirements. To answer his vocation, he had to go back to school, where he studied Latin grammar alongside children. In 1529 he continued his education at the University of Paris. This is where he introduced his classmates to the Spiritual Exercises.
Ignatius and six others (including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber) pronounce vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and form the Society of Jesus. On Christmas morning 1538, Ignatius celebrated his first Mass in the church of St. Mary Major in the Chapel of the Manger in Rome. On September 27, 1540, Pope Paul III made the Society of Jesus an official religious order in the Catholic Church. Its members unanimously elected Ignatius as the first Father General. For the next 15 years Ignatius would lead the Society from two small rooms in Rome. It is here where he composed the Constitutions of the Society and wrote many letters to his growing number of brothers in the Society. The initial seven members of the Society would grow to over a thousand. Jesuit schools and churches were founded throughout Europe and Jesuit missionaries traveled as far west as Brazil and as far east as Japan. Despite this new responsibility, Ignatius continued to serve the poor and sick in Rome.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele, Tebogo Mavuso, Magola Legoale, Phoebe Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba.
Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ