Memorial of Saint Ignatius, priest
(Exodus 34:29-35; Matthew 13:44-46)
Today the Church honors not just St. Ignatius but also the legacy he left. Ignatius gave up a military career after he was injured and experienced conversion. He prayed intensely and studied theology. At the university he joined a group of scholars to form the Company of Jesus, the Jesuits. They were ordained and soon spearheaded the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits have become the Church’s most prominent religious congregation. Seven years ago, for the first time, a Jesuit was elected pope.
Ignatius’ conversion could be compared to the merchant’s finding a pearl in today’s gospel. In reading and praying, Ignatius found Christ in a much deeper way than in his Catholic upbringing. He gave up his sword and everything else to be like his Lord. As the first leader of the Jesuits, he awoke the attention of the world to Jesus’ love.
Today’s collect remembers Ignatius as a soldier-saint by recognizing the need of discipline in the quest for holiness. We must take to heart the lesson. We train ourselves to put aside earthly vanities by keeping our eyes on the Lord.