Death of Ignatius
42. Death in Rome
In the heat of a Roman summer in 1556 Ignatius knew his end was close. He had dutifully obeyed doctors who had suggested he close the windows and cover himself with many blankets to sweat out his fever. The pain and discomfort he suffered must have been great. On the 30th of July he asked his secretary, Juan Alfonso de Polanco to go to the Pope and request a final blessing. Polanco judged there was no great rush, so left this request for a day. But on seeing Ignatius in the morning he realised Ignatius was at death’s door and so raced to the Pope. He was too late. By the time he had returned with the Pope’s blessing, Ignatius was dead. Ignatius had died alone in the early morning.
Ignatius’ small group of friends had grown in the sixteen years of existence to nearly a thousand Jesuits ministering throughout the world. During all this time Ignatius had worked tirelessly to support, advise and encourage all his companions. He wrote literally thousands of letters to Jesuits, to friends and to potential donors and supporters of the Society of Jesus’ works. He also provided a rule for the Order, known as the Constitutions and perhaps most importantly left his Spiritual Exercises which successfully deepened the faith of many and encourage a deep desire to follow and imitate Jesus Christ in so many people over the last five hundred years.
A thought to ponder
For many people the most difficult event to deal with in life is death.
The Christian faith offers the hope of a new life of joy.
You may like to pray that you have the grace to accept your death with peace and hope.
Scripture for the Day
As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Imaginative Contemplation.
Matthew 6:25-34 NRSVACE
‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
And why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?”
or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”
For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things;
and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Music for Today
“Take Lord, Receive” sung by Marlon Fabros SJ
Purchase more of the music of the St Louis Jesuits