From the Pastor
The Most Holy Body
and Blood of Christ
June 18, 2017
Today, on this Solemnity of
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, as we give special thanks for the gift of the Eucharist we prepare to honor Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, whose Feast Day is Wednesday, June 21. Born on March 9, 1568, the eldest son of an Italian nobleman, and baptized Luigi, he was destined for military service, but from an early age desired the religious life. Saint Charles Borromeo
gave him First Holy Communion; against his father’s wishes, he entered the Jesuit novitiate, and served in a hospital in Milan during an outbreak of the plague, which he contracted. He received what was then called “Last Rites” from Saint Robert Bellarmine, and died at the age of 23 on June 21, 1591.
Here are excerpts from the Office of Readings for his feast day: a deathbed letter to his mother in which he expresses his childlike faith and profound hope: “… Dearest mother, … God … is showing me the path to true happiness … [and] is calling me to eternal rest … [do] not insult God … [by mourning] as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. … our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven. … when God takes away what he once lent us, his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have … I write all this with the one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favor and that you especially may speed with a mother’s blessing my passage across the waters till I reach the shore to which all hopes belong.”
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious – Collect
O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence
to a wonderful innocence of life,
grant, through his merits and intercession,
that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence.
Through our Lord Jesus … ever and ever. Amen.
“IF YOU’RE NOT INNOCENT, BE PENITENT!” Some say Saint Aloysius’ self-imposed penances and disciplines were too severe, and he neither looked at nor conversed with women to avoid possible temptation. Even his spiritual director ‘ordered’ him to break his fasts and spend less time in prayer! But haven’t we – who may never have even heard of ‘custody of the eyes’ [i.e., looking away from what attracts us], who deny ourselves nothing, constantly seek pleasure and the ‘easy way out’ – haven’t we gone to the other extreme? As his Collect suggests: “we have failed to follow him in innocence” must do something to “imitate him in penitence.”
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga – Prayer over the Offerings
Grant us, O Lord,
that by the example of Saint Aloysius,
we may take our place at the heavenly banquet,
clothed always in our wedding garment,
so that, by participation in this mystery,
we may possess the riches of your grace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
CLOTHED IN OUR WEDDING GARMENT.
The rich biblical image of being clothed in one’s wedding garment is a ‘veiled’ reference [pun intended!] to our baptismal gown. The white alb worn by clergy under their vestments and others, like Altar Servers, is rooted in the Book of Revelation’s image of heaven. All the Saints wear robes made white by washing them in the blood of the Lamb. And those who have soiled their garments by sinning can rewash them in the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga – Prayer after Communion
Bring us, who have been fed with the food of Angels, O Lord, to serve you in purity of life,
and, following the example of Saint Aloysius,
whom we honor today,
may we persevere in constant thanksgiving.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
HELP FROM ON HIGH. To fight against sin and remain pure we have the Eucharist, the other Sacraments, and this patron saint of teenagers and of all who struggle to avoid sin. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS