Commentary on the Gospel of
Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious
For us Jesuits, St. Aloysius Gonzaga is a special companion. Fr. James Martin's excellent summary of his life, above, will give part of the story and is well worth reading today.
In summary, Aloysius was from a noble and wealthy family. He was a pious young man and rejected the weath, status and the other things that come with such privilege, deciding to enter the Society of Jesus and become a Jesuit, against his father's opposition. Entering the Jesuits helped bring balance to his extreme piety and practices. In studies in Rome, his spiritual director, Robert Bellarmine, advised him to spend less time in formal prayer and more time interacting with others. When a plague broke out in Rome, Aloysius gave himself to caring for the victims, until he himself caught the disease and died. He was still in Jesuit formation, not yet ordained, at the age of twenty-three. He became the patron saint of youth and is often regarded at the patron saint of those who suffer from AIDS.
St. Paul urges the people of Corinth to be generous, to be cheerful in giving and to trust that God will provide for what we need, to be of service for others.
Jesus tells us: "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them." He knows that religious practice can carry rewards which distract from their purity and genuine reward and purpose.
Today can be a good day to turn to our young Saint and give thanks for his witness of fidelity, his openness to growth in balance, and his courage in giving his life in selfless love. We can also turn to him and ask that he continue to intercede with the youth of our world, who face challenges today that he would have found unimaginable. May he help young people do what Pope Francis has urged them to do: To row against the current. May they be inspired to know God's love in their own context, to find the relationship with Jesus which will help their hearts be like his, to see their roles in our Church, and join us all in a solidarity with those most in need of our assistance, no matter the cost.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!