Thursday, June 21, 2007

We Need You Now

Today is the commemoration of St Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) whom Don Bosco chose as a patron because of his innocence. Not unlike Don Bosco himself, by age 11 Aloysius was teaching catechism to poor children, fasting three days a week and practicing great austerities.

He entered the Jesuit Order, gave up a princely life and wanted to become a missionary. He spent four years in the study of philosophy and had St. Robert Bellarmine as his spiritual adviser.

In 1591, a plague struck Rome. The Jesuits opened a hospital of their own. Many other Jesuits along with Aloysius rendered personal service. Because he nursed patients, washing them and making their beds, Aloysius caught the disease himself. He maintained his great discipline of prayer, knowing that he would die within the octave of Corpus Christi, three months later. He was 23.

Aloysius seems an unlikely patron of youth in a society where asceticism is confined to training camps of football teams and boxers, and sexual permissiveness. May this young Jesuit inspire all Jesuits and priests and religious to guard their chastity and promote the purity of life that makes this saint a model for all time!

P.S. I wonder what Aloysius must be thinking as he sees his Jesuit Universities promoting a gay life style, or hears one of our parishes praying in the “Prayer of the Faithful:” "For a successful Gay Pride Parade." (Coming to SF Sunday!)

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