BRIDGEPORT—He was a soldier who became a saint, creating a religious order that helped reform the Church and spread the Gospel to every corner of the world. As we celebrate today the feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), we are invited to reflect upon the life of a man who understood the meaning of giving allegiance to authority as a soldier and came slowly to recognize the true authority to whom he owed both his allegiance and his very life.
Saint Ignatius came to recognize the kingship of Christ over his life during a time of recuperation from a serious wound incurred in battle. It was during those months of reading and quiet that he realized that the obedience, single-minded drive and desire to give his entire life to something greater than himself did not find its goal in anything or anyone in this world. His desire for victory and glory did not give him true joy until he discovered that allegiance to Christ promised him eternal glory and unending joy. It was for this reason that the motto by which Saint Ignatius both lived his life and founded the Jesuits upon was “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam”, which means “For the Greater Glory of God.” To live one’s life for the greater glory of God is to offer our allegiance to Christ and to become a citizen of His Kingdom.
Saint Paul summarizes this same allegiance in 1 Cor.10:31: “ Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” It was an allegiance that St. Paul and St. Ignatius came to understand very well. It is an allegiance that alone can lead us to what we really seek, that is, everlasting life.