Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ignatius Converting Souls Most Deeply Sunk In Vice

The Cathedral of Alcala the Santos Niños
A fact is recounted of Ignatius of Loyola which shows how gifted he was in converting souls most deeply sunk in vice. It was then the custom, and continued so a long time afterwards, that young ecclesiastics, who, though not Priests, yet held preferments in the cathedral churches, should go to the Universities to complete their studies. There was at Alcala at that time one of these young Clergy, a Canon of one of the principal churches in Spain. Having made acquaintance with some disorderly students he led a life little in conformity with his vocation and very scandalous to others. Ignatius undertook his conversion. After having implored light and assistance from Heaven, he went to the Canon's house, and, arming himself with courage and patience, sent in a message that he desired to have an interview with him. The Canon received him with a look that plainly showed such people as Ignatius were not welcome at his house. However, he observed the ordinary forms of politeness, so much so that, 
when the Saint expressed a wish to speak with him alone he dismissed his attendants. Ignatius addressed himself to his conscience, speaking respectfully but forcibly, and telling him plainly the opinion entertained of him commonly in the town, but which his flatterers had concealed from him. Wounded in his pride and transported with anger, the Canon interrupted him by a torrent of abuse, and ended by threatening to have him thrown out of the window. The servants, hearing loud words, hastened to the room, but before they entered Ignatius had time to address some words to him which calmed his anger, though what he said or how it took such effect upon him is a mystery. 
The servants, on entering, saw only that their master was advancing towards Ignatius with signs of singular respect, and received orders to prepare a repast for himself and the visitor. To complete the good work begun, the Saint consented to remain, with such happy result that the Canon not only changed his whole life and continued always a friend and protector of Ignatius, but used his great influence with others, and so was able to render him a double service.
Link (here) to the Jesuit Fr. Genelli in his book, The Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

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