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Soldiers of Christ
Sunday, July 31 2011

Being Christ's Soldier...

Today, we celebrate the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, July 31st.  In honor of him, a soldier of Christ, I share this verse:

"Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."  -2 Timothy 2:3, NAB

St. Ignatius was a soldier who was badly wounded in battle.  While recovering, he was inspired to change his life after reading a number of religious texts.  He gave up his life as a soldier and became a soldier for Christ.  We too must accept this same calling.  As Christians, we must be willing to give up the life we once had to find the life we are called to have in Christ Jesus.

As a former soldier, I can tell you that the road is not easy.  Deployments lead to time away from family, a loss of creature comforts, and even the risk of injury or death.  Taking up the cross as a soldier of Christ has its own burdens.  We will be thrown into battle against the enemies of this world, and our very souls are at stake.  But if we put on the armor of God, He will protect us from any harm.  Put down your swords and pick up your cross.  The battle will be long, but we are assured victory through Christ our Lord.

St. Ignatius is a model for us to follow.  After giving up his life as a soldier, he gave himself in complete devotion to the Lord.  In this new life, St. Ignatius accomplished a great deal.  He founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, who are responsible for building many of today's leading schools and universities.  His book, Spiritual Exercises, is the foundation for many Christian retreats, and it is focused on prayer and inner reflection.  His work lives on long after he went to be with the Lord.

Because of his virtues, I chose to take on St. Ignatius as my confirmation name when I completed RCIA.  As a former soldier, I could identify with the struggles and hardships that he faced.  As someone who pursued an education as an adult, I am inspired by the education system that was built through the Jesuits.  One day, I hope to share that same joy by teaching at the collegiate level as well.  Finally, as someone who also had a spiritual awakening later in life, I am in awe of his wisdom and teachings on spirituality.

Why have I spent so much time talking about St. Ignatius?  I know, it's not my typical Daily Bible Verse, but St. Ignatius holds a special place in my heart.  As you can see, St. Ignatius was a great example for all of us to follow.  After scouring a number of books on saints, I felt that he truly represented who I am, and who I want to be.  Feast days, at the time, were not something that I knew much about.  I had chosen him because of the man he was and the man he became.  When I first began to learn about feast days, I decided to look his up.  Lo and behold, I learned that he and I had one more thing in common.  His feast day just happens to land on my birthday.  Divine inspiration, to say the least.

 

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