St. Aloysius Gonzaga: Meditation on his life

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St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Meditation on his life

1st. Represent to yourself the Saint, supremely happy,
on his death-bed.

2nd. Pray for grace to imitate his generosity, that you
may participate in his joy.

The Generosity with which St. Aloysius strove to attain Perfection

Consideration: When we read of the heroic acts of the saints, we say to ourselves, perhaps unconsciously, This is not surprising; they were saints, and I am not one: as if all saints had been sanctified from their birth, and as if they had not attained holiness by generous and heroic victories over themselves. We find traces of these victories in every page of the life of St. Aloysius. We read therein that, in order to curb the wanderings of his imagination, he persevered in prayer for many hours together, until he acquired the power of spending one without distraction; that, to quell his inclination to anger, he watched so carefully over himself that he at length succeeded in mastering the first movements of irritation; that, in order to conquer every feeling of vanity and self-love, he took the resolution of appearing at a court festival in Mantua, in such mean attire as to draw upon himself the ridicule of the entire assemblage. And what efforts did he not make to preserve his soul from the least stain of sin! To such lengths did he carry this vigilance that he avoided even looking at any woman, and subjected himself to continued fasts, rigorous disciplines, and prolonged vigils. And lastly, how severe was the struggle which he maintained, during two years, to gain permission to resign his principality and enter religion!

Application: These examples will suffice to prove that the sanctity of Aloysius was not natural or innate; that it was acquired by the most strenuous efforts; and that we may likewise become saints by pursuing the same method.

Affections: Beg of St. Aloysius to obtain for you that you may put in practice all the means of sanctification within your reach.

Resolutions: In all difficulties, endeavor, like St Aloysius, to gain courage by saying to yourself, “What proportion does all this bear to the rewards of eternity?”

Reward of the Efforts of St. Aloysius to Attain Perfection

Consideration: In return for these generous efforts, St. Aloysius received from God a sublime gift of prayer, together with the gift of tears, that of perfect chastity, and many other signal favors. Among these was one in particular, which we should earnestly desire to share with him, namely, his holy death, preceded by peace, joy, and admirable confidence, as is testified by a letter written by him eight days before his decease to his pious mother. “If charity,” he says, “should cause us to weep with those who mourn, and to rejoice with those who are joyful, your consolation should be very great, my dearest mother, on account of the grace which the Lord grants you in my person, leading me, as He does, to true happiness. God, in His Divine Mercy, calls me to heaven, to that sovereign felicity which I have so negligently sought to obtain. He promises to reward the few tears that I have shed.”

We find the same sentiments expressed throughout the remainder of the letter, as well as in his latest conversations with his religious brethren and superiors, who expressed their conviction that they witnessed the death of a saint. It pleased God to make known the sanctity of His servant by numerous and striking miracles. He was solemnly beatified fourteen years after his death, and during the lifetime of his mother.

Application: Let us live the life of the saints, that we may participate in their glory.

Colloquy with St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who, in the space of a few years, gained an extraordinary degree of merit through the practice of sanctifying even his most trivial actions by great purity of intention, the fruit of his intimate union with God. Let us pray to Him, and beg, through His intercession, the grace to imitate His virtues.

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