“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven” (Rev 12:7-8).
A good friend of mine was a brave soldier who wanted to work his way up the military ranks. However, one day during battle, a cannon ball hit both his legs and put an end to his career as a soldier. While recovering from his battle wounds at home, he came across a book about the life of Christ and another one about the lives of the saints. Over the next few months, he meditated on the lives of great saints like St. Francis and St. Dominic, experienced a deep conversion and decided to become a saint himself. Soon after, my friend then made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat in Spain, and there left his sword and knife at the feet of Our Lady’s altar. Then he promised Mary to give his life completely to God. I’m speaking, of course, of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. In my opinion, one of the greatest saints in Church history. St. Ignatius’ feast day is normally celebrated on July 31st. However, this year his feast day falls on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Feast of all feasts, which supersedes any other Church feasts.
During Fr. Larry’s second talk at the Men’s Conference in February, Father said something that I’ll never forget. When speaking about laying our lives for others after the example of Jesus, the priest asked, “If an intruder came into your house and wanted to rape your wife and kill your children, would you take a bullet for them and say ‘you’ll have to get through me to get to them’?” All of us answered that we would take a bullet for our families. Then Fr. Larry drove his point by saying: “Well, the world, the flesh and the Devil want to come into your house, rape your wives and kill your children, and you have to tell them, ‘you’ll have to get through me to get to them!’”
One of the reasons St. Ignatius became a great saint was because he had the mind of a soldier, and he applied that knowledge to the spiritual life. Truth is, we as Christians are fighting a spiritual war on a daily basis, and most of the time we forget that “We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities. . . against the spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Eph 6:12). Besides availing ourselves of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession regularly, we would do well to pick up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Eph 6:17). As disciples of Christ, we are called to be disciplined enough to meditate on the Word of God daily. In the words of Fr. Larry, “No Bible, no breakfast. No Bible; no bed.”
Let’s ask Our Father through the intercession of St. Ignatius to give us the grace to fight the good fight against the Enemy. The Enemy who seeks to destroy us and to keep us away from our Heavenly inheritance that awaits us if we are faithful to Jesus Christ until the day we die.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
Let us Pray:
Come, Holy Spirit,
and fill my heart with Your gifts.
Let my love be true and my
charity be generous.
Help me in all my needs,
and grant me knowledge
to do what is right.
Advise me in my doubts,
strengthen me when I am tempted
and console me when I am afraid.
Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
and pour Your light into
my heart, mind and soul.
Help me to live a holy life
and grow in goodness and grace.