Thursday, June 21, 2012


Prayer to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Patron of Youth

Dear Christian youth,
you were a faithful follower of Christ in the Society of Jesus.
You steadily strove for perfection while generously serving the plague-stricken.
Help our youth today who are faced with a plague of false cults and false gods.
Show them how to harness their energies and to use them for their own and others' fulfillment—which will redound to the greater glory of God.



Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, religious

Sir 48:1-14

Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord's word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You brought a dead man back to life
from the nether world, by the will of the LORD.
You sent kings down to destruction,
and easily broke their power into pieces.
You brought down nobles, from their beds of sickness.
You heard threats at Sinai,
at Horeb avenging judgments.
You anointed kings who should inflict vengeance,
and a prophet as your successor.
You were taken aloft in a whirlwind of fire,
in a chariot with fiery horses.
You were destined, it is written, in time to come
to put an end to wrath before the day of the LORD,
To turn back the hearts of fathers toward their sons,
and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.
Blessed is he who shall have seen you
And who falls asleep in your friendship.
For we live only in our life,
but after death our name will not be such.
O Elijah, enveloped in the whirlwind!

Then Elisha, filled with the twofold portion of his spirit,
wrought many marvels by his mere word.
During his lifetime he feared no one,
nor was any man able to intimidate his will.
Nothing was beyond his power;
beneath him flesh was brought back into life.
In life he performed wonders,
and after death, marvelous deeds.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 97:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes round about.
His lightnings illumine the world;
the earth sees and trembles.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

All who worship graven things are put to shame,
who glory in the things of nought;
all gods are prostrate before him.

R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:

"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard 
because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need 
before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:

"Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."

"If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."


June 21

St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591)

The Lord can make saints anywhere, even amid the brutality and license of Renaissance life. Florence was the “mother of piety” for Aloysius Gonzaga despite his exposure to a “society of fraud, dagger, poison and lust.” As a son of a princely family, he grew up in royal courts and army camps. His father wanted Aloysius to be a military hero.

At age seven he experienced a profound spiritual quickening. His prayers included the Office of Mary, the psalms and other devotions. At age nine he came from his hometown of Castiglione to Florence to be educated; by age 11 he was teaching catechism to poor children, fasting three days a week and practicing great austerities. When he was 13 years old he traveled with his parents and the Empress of Austria to Spain and acted as a page in the court of Philip II. The more Aloysius saw of court life, the more disillusioned he became, seeking relief in learning about the lives of saints.

A book about the experience of Jesuit missionaries in India suggested to him the idea of entering the Society of Jesus, and in Spain his decision became final. Now began a four-year contest with his father. Eminent churchmen and laypeople were pressed into service to persuade him to remain in his “normal” vocation. Finally he prevailed, was allowed to renounce his right to succession and was received into the Jesuit novitiate.

Like other seminarians, Aloysius was faced with a new kind of penance—that of accepting different ideas about the exact nature of penance. He was obliged to eat more, to take recreation with the other students. He was forbidden to pray except at stated times. He spent four years in the study of philosophy and had St. Robert Bellarmine (September 17) as his spiritual adviser.

In 1591, a plague struck Rome. The Jesuits opened a hospital of their own. The general himself and many other Jesuits rendered personal service. Because he nursed patients, washing them and making their beds, Aloysius caught the disease himself. A fever persisted after his recovery and he was so weak he could scarcely rise from bed. Yet, he maintained his great discipline of prayer, knowing that he would die within the octave of Corpus Christi, three months later, at the age of 23.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

– Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

– Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

– Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

– Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Come, let us worship God, so wonderful in all his saints.


The dusky veil of night hath laid
The varied hues of earth in shade;
Before thee, righteous Judge of all,
We contrite in confession fall.
Take far away our load of sin,
Our soiled minds make clean within:
Thy sovereign grace, O Christ, impart,
From all offence to guard our heart.
For lo! our mind is dull and cold,
envenomed by sin’s baneful hold:
Fain would it now the darkness flee
And seek, Redeemer, unto thee.
Far from it drive the shades of night,
Its inmost darkness put to flight;
Till in the daylight of the Blest
It joys to find itself at rest.
Almighty Father, hear our cry
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord most high,
Who with the Holy Ghost and thee
Doth live and reign eternally.

Psalm 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
he is a mockery among his neighbours.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendour,
and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him from head to foot in shame.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

Psalm 88 (89)

I am the root and stock of David; 
I am the splendid morning star.

How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
the insults of your enemies, Lord,
the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I am the root and stock of David; 
I am the splendid morning star.

Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us

Our years pass like grass; but you, God, 
are without beginning or end.

Lord, you have been our refuge
from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
before earth and heaven were conceived,
from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday, that has passed;
like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
make firm the work of your hands.
Make firm the work of your hands.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our years pass like grass; but you, God, 
are without beginning or end.

Lord, from you springs life;
– in your light we shall see light.

Judges 8:22-23,30-32,9:1-15,19-20

The men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, you and your sons and your grandson, because you have rescued us from the power of Midian.’ But Gideon answered them, ‘It is not I who shall rule over you, nor my son; 
the Lord must be your lord.’

Gideon had seventy sons begotten by him, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, bore him a son too, whom he called Abimelech. Gideon son of Joash was blessed in his old age; he died, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of Abiezer.

Abimelech son of Jerubbaal came to his mother’s brothers at Shechem and said to them and the whole clan of his mother’s family, ‘Please put this question to the leading men of Shechem: Which is better for you, to be ruled by seventy – I mean all the sons of Jerubbaal – or to be ruled by one? Remind yourselves also that I am your own flesh and blood.’ His mother’s brothers spoke of him to all the leading men of Shechem in these terms, and their hearts inclined towards Abimelech, for they told themselves, ‘He is our brother.’ So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-berith, and with this Abimelech paid worthless scoundrels to follow him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and murdered his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on the selfsame stone. Only the youngest son of Jerubbaal escaped, for he had gone into hiding; this was Jotham. Then all the leading men of Shechem and all Beth-millo gathered, and proclaimed Abimelech king by the terebinth of the pillar at Shechem.

News of this was brought to Jotham. He came and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and 
shouted aloud for them to hear:

‘Hear me, leaders of Shechem,
that God may also hear you!
‘One day the trees went out
to anoint a king to rule over them.
They said to the olive tree, “Be our king!”
‘The olive tree answered them,
“Must I forego my oil
which gives honour to gods and men,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then the trees said to the fig tree,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘The fig tree answered them,
“Must I forego my sweetness,
forego my excellent fruit,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then the trees said to the vine,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘The vine answered them,
“Must I forego my wine
which cheers the heart of gods and men,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then all the trees said to the thorn bush,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘And the thorn bush answered the trees,
“If in all good faith you anoint me king to reign over you,
then come and shelter in my shade.
If not, fire will come from the thorn bush
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”

‘If, I say, you have acted in sincerity and good faith towards Jerubbaal and his family, then may Abimelech be your joy and may you be his. If not, may fire come out of Abimelech and devour the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and fire come out of the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo to devour Abimelech.’


I will not rule over you, neither will my son rule over you: the Lord himself will rule over you.

To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour, glory and might for ever and ever. The Lord himself will rule over you.

A letter from St Aloysius Gonzaga to his mother

God's mercies shall be my song for ever

May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honoured 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 honoured 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 labours, 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 honoured lady, not to insult God’s boundless 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 the 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.


You befriended my innocence, O Lord; never more will you banish me from your presence.

Willingly did I lie forgotten in the house of my God, rather than dwell in the abode of sinners; never more will you banish me from your presence.

Let us pray.

Lord God, source of every grace,
you joined an innocent heart to a penitent’s sorrow
in the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga.
Grant, through his intercession,
that we, who have failed to imitate his innocence,
may follow his example of penance.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.