Solstice, Sanctity and Ireland

This is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere), solstice marking the Earth’s midway point in its 186 million mile journey around the Sun, in whose light we may rejoice.

It is also the memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (+ 1591), a Jesuit scholastic who died at the tender age of 23 caring for victims of the plague in Rome. Aloysius, whose original Italian name was Luigi, was from a rich, noble family, and destined for a life of honour and privilege, from which he began to distance himself from a young age, receiving his First Communion from Saint Charles Borromeo, and taking a private vow of chastity as he turned nine. Later in his teen years, against his father’s wishes (who finally relented), Aloysius entered the Jesuits, renouncing all rights to his inheritance.

As a novice, Aloysius’ spiritual director was none other than Saint Robert Bellarmine, one of the great lights of the post-Tridentine reform and renewal.

We know not what the idealistic and inspired soul of Aloysius might have done in a life long lived, for like others, Pier Giorgio, Dominic Savio, Therese, God took him to heaven young, fulfilling much in a short time, which is what life is about, really, to reach that potential of sanctity to which we are all called.

As his Collect for today says, let those of us who have not followed his innocence, at least follow his path of penitence and conversion.

On that note, or rather not, yesterday, the Senate, the supposed house of sober second thought, approved the legalization of marijuana, to take effect on October 17th. I will have more to say on this in a bit (particularly the moral difference between the noble use of alcohol, and ignoble use of drugs) as will Paula Adamick in her article tomorrow. But for now, take it as another nail in the coffin for the once-great nation of Canada.

And Ireland, poor Ireland. After the vote legalizing abortion the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, the first openly homosexual holder of that office, and no friend of the Church, a symbol of what the green Isle has become, announced that Catholic hospitals will be forced to perform abortions, which will mean, if this threat goes through, for threat it is, that if the hospitals submit, they will no longer be ‘Catholic’, and neither will Ireland, if she continues on this path. I wonder if Mr. Varadkar realizes that, and what his intentions really are.

In the end, Saint Aloysius had it right: It is all about sanctity, prayer, mortification, growing in grace, friendship with God, charity to our fellow man; about doing the good in the moment, to the person and in the situation in which we find ourselves. Ora pro nobis +