SHINING BRIGHT ON THE SHORTEST DAY
|THE DEATH OF SAINT ALOYSIUS WAS CAUSED|
BY HIS HEROIC CARE FOR THE SICK DURING THE PLAGUE
Saint Aloysius was born into the princely family of Castiglione in 1568 near Mantua in Lombardy.Instructed in piety by his mother, he manifested an attraction to religious life. He legally delivered his share of the ancestral dominion to his brother and entered the Society of Jesus. While serving the sick during an outbreak of the plague, he himself contracted the disease and died in 1591.
The Liturgy of the Hours for the day gives us this very moving Reading taken from a letter to his mother by Saint Aloysius during his last illness :
"May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honored lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad , then dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in His grace and His love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose Him.
The Divine goodness, most honored lady, is a fathomless and shoreless ocean, and I confess that when I plunge my mind into thought of this it is carried away by the immensity and feels quite lost and bewildered there.In return for my short and feeble labors , God is calling me to eternal rest; His voice from heaven invites me to the infinite bliss I have sought so languidly, and promises me this reward for the tears I have so seldom shed.
Take care above all things, most honored lady, not to insult God's loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned 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. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Saviour; there we shall praise Him with heart and soul, sing of His mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When He 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 one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favour 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. I write the more willingly because I have no clearer way of expressing the love and respect I owe you as your son."
|AT SAINT ALOYSIUS' COLLEGE SYDNEY, THE PATRON'S HEROIC|
CARE FOR THE SICK IN THE MOST APPALLING CIRCUMSTANCES , IS
DRAMATICALLY RECALLED IN THE MAIN ENTRANCE
Father of love,
giver of all good things,
in Saint Aloysius you combined remarkable innocence
with the spirit of penance.
By the help of his prayers
may we who have not followed his innocence
follow his example of penance.
Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ , Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen