Sunday, April 11, 2010

St. Ignatius and Our Lady of Monserrat

There's an interesting moment in the life of St. Ignatius Loyola, where he almost violently kills someone in defense of the perpetual virginity of Mary (St. Jerome would be proud), and then within days hangs up all of his sword and army equipment infront of an image of Our Lady of Monserrat, in what I perceive as a sort of spiritual surrender to God. It reminds me of the Newman quote where he writes that we are not merely civilians in need of a captain (Christ) but rebels who must lay down our arms.

I found an English translation of the hymn to Our Lady of Monserrat that is sung daily in the monastery:

"Rose of April, woman of the mountain,
star of Montserrat,
light up the catalan land
guide us to the sky
guide us to the sky

With a golden saw, the little angels sawed,
with a golden saw, those peaks,
to make your palace,
to make your palace.
Queen of the Sky, that the Séraphins took down
Queen of the Sky Give us a shelter in your blue coat,
in your blue coat.

Rose of April, woman of the mountain,
star of Montserrat,
light up the catalan land
guide us to the sky
guide us to the sky"

At the monastery, Ignatius confessed his sins before going off into a period of even greater conversion. I burst out laughing when I read in Catholic Encyclopedia the snide remark of the historian: "evidence tends to show that his own subsequent humble confessions of having been a great sinner should not be treated as pious exaggerations" (I want that on my gravestone).

The funny thing is the way I see -from albeit a very cursory glance at his life- him switch from one passion to the next. It's like Thomism in reverse. While that school teaches a man must subvert his passions to his reason, Ignatius seems to fall like Kierkegaard into the camp of Faith being the stongest passion. He was a very passionate man (and yet it was a passion for Christ). I think it's funny how he read about the saints and wanted to outdo them. I don't think that's pride necessarily as Holy Writ orders us to "provoke one another to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24).

I see in him a successful version of what I want to be. I told a friend the other day that I want to be a priest/Jesuit because I want to love the poor and completely follow Christ, not because I am doing that already. It's more a means to an end. Apparently that's not the 'right' answer to becoming a priest nowadays. Fr. McNabb's response that he took Holy Orders to 'save his soul' is now uncommon, but it really is how I feel.

May the example of Christ, Our Lady, and the saints provoke me to love.

Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to all!

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