Saint Ignatius Loyola, whose Feast Day is July 31st , led an “interesting life,” in which he made a drastic change in his early 30s, and led by the Holy Spirit, founded the Jesuit Order.
He had spent his youth training to be a soldier, and exercised that profession through his 20s. A cannon ball broke one of his legs and mangled the other, and Ignatius spent over a year recovering.
In the time he spent recuperating, he began to question all his suppositions, and that enforced idleness and concentration of his mind brought him several profound, yet straightforward realizations. One of the most powerful for him was that some thoughts brought him happiness and others sorrow. When he considered the differences between these thoughts, he recognized that two powerful forces were acting upon him. Evil brought him unpleasant thoughts while God brought him happiness. Ignatius discerned God’s call, and began a new way of life, following God instead of the common culture. He used his newfound wisdom to deal with the physical and emotional challenges he found in himself. St. Ignatius struggled with dark thoughts and difficulties.
He wrote a prayer to deal with those:
O Christ Jesus
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love and Your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love and strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to You,
We shall see Your Hand,
Your Purpose, Your Will through all things.
The Lord wants us to rely on Him, and let Him work in and through us. Offer St. Ignatius’ prayer as often as you need to.
Love and Peace,
Fr. Liam Quinlan