Friday Eleventh Week Ordinary Time at Ferdinand Benedictines

[Scripture Readings: 2 Cor 11:18, 21b-30; Mt 6:19-23 ]

As the first-born son, Aloysius Gonzaga's father assumed that Aloysius would become a soldier. His military training started at age four, when he was given a set of toy guns and accompanied his father on training expeditions so that the boy might learn “the art of arms.” At the age of five, Aloysius was sent to a military camp to get started on his career as a soldier.

Why, then, did Aloysius become a saint instead of a little terrorist? Because of his mother. She instilled into him those religious sentiments with which her own heart was filled.

Growing up amid the violence and brutality of Renaissance Italy he witnessed the murder of two of his brothers. At the age of 8, he was sent to Florence to serve at the court of the Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici. Aloysius was shocked by the violent and frivolous life-style he encountered. Alienated by the intrigue and debauchery of the court, he resolved to become a religious and made a vow of virginity. He writes, “It is better to be the child of God than king of the whole world.”

After reading a book about the experience of Jesuit missionaries in India he decided to enter the Society of Jesus and he was received after finally overcoming his father's resistance. During the plague in Milan, he ministered to the sick, and died from it at the age of 23.

How fortunate are children who have someone to inspire them along the right way from their youth, and who are given good books to encourage and motivate them in their search for God!

Like you, I was also so fortunate! I learned prayer and piety from both of my parents, and the Trappist way of life from reading Fr. Raymond's book, “The Man Who God Even with God.” May we in our turn inspire the youth of our times by the witness of our lives and good counsel, and by the gift of good books to motivate them in truly seeking God.