Daily Reflection
July 31st, 2003
Joan Howard
University College
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Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
Matthew 13:47-53

Today, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), is a very special day here at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.  Creighton along with all other Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the world celebrates Ignatius as the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.

Ignatius was born into a wealthy family of northern Spain.  As a young man he was full of romantic chivalrous ideas and ideals.  He was captivated by the romance novels of the day.  His wander lust, imagination and devotion to the cause filled him with the desire to rid the world of evil and win the hand of a lovely maiden!  As he was recovering from a serious leg wound sustained in battle his reading fluctuated from the romance novels to the lives of the Saints.  And gradually his chivalrous devotion focused on Mary, the mother of Christ. 

Ignatius never lost his romantic nature nor his vivid imagination.  As always he was captivated by stories.  He came to listen to the stories and secrets buried deep in the hearts of the ordinary men and women with whom he journeyed.  He recognized in each one the adventure, struggle, valor, and victory associated with journeying with the Lord.  He was an attentive, kind and gentle companion for fellow pilgrims. 

In today’s reading from Exodus, we read about the presence of God in the form of a cloud covering the tent in which is held the tabernacle.  “For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night.”  The Israelites followed the movement of the cloud, the Lord.  “Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey.”  And so it was with Ignatius, he became a spiritual companion to many – helping others to notice the movement of the Spirit within them, so they too could move on in their journey with the Lord.

Some days, we readily notice the Spirit in the lightness of the clouds around us.  Other days, we may struggle to find the Lord in the dark and heavy clouds that suffocate us.  Other times, we instantly recognize the Spirit in the fire of the challenge.  God is not hiding from us.  God wants us to notice God’s faithful presence in the lightness as well as in the darkness.

Today, on this the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I invite you to seek out your spiritual companion and be with each other as you notice God with you.

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