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A story for every day...

The Holy Family in Prayer

Our heart is too big for the world; God alone is bigger than our heart!

The favors Ignatius of Loyola received from Heaven served greatly to make him forget the vanities of the earth. One night the Virgin Mary appeared to him, holding the little Jesus in Her arms and surrounded by light.

At this sight, Ignatius’ soul was filled with a heavenly unction that made the pleasures of the senses seem insipid. It appeared to him that during the apparition, which lasted for some time, his heart was purified and all images of sensual pleasure were erased from his mind. The effect of the apparition did not pass with it. Since this happy moment, he did not feel any more the revolts of the flesh, and did not have even those thoughts which sometimes torment the most chaste persons. But he could not lose the presence of Jesus and Mary without pain. To console himself, he often looked at Heaven, and every time he looked at it, he was horrified by the most charming things in the world.

When his leg had been healed well enough, he prepared to follow the voice that was calling him, and he did so secretly, convinced from then on that the affairs of God should be conducted without noise, and that he should not make a fuss about leaving the world. But to see him so different from himself, immersed in deep thoughts, speaking little and only about the vanity of human things, reading and writing at all hours, one easily imagined that he was disgusted with the world, and that he was planning something extraordinary. Dom Martin Garcie, his elder brother, who, since Dom Bertram’s death, owned the castle of Loyola, and who did not live exactly according to the maxims of the Gospel, did what he could to discover and to break his plan. One day, having taken him aside, he praised him for the fine qualities which nature had given him, especially for that warlike inclination which from his youth had made him embrace the profession of arms, and for that wisdom which had appeared so early in his conduct. After which he begged him not to trust his sorrow, and not to undertake anything lightly.

“You acquired much glory at the siege of Pamplona, he said to him, and you pass today for one of the most illustrious warriors of Spain. Do not destroy your reputation, do not dishonor your family by a folly unworthy of you. At least do not hide from me the thoughts that roll around in your head, and take confidence in a brother who loves you dearly.”

When God speaks strongly to the heart, the words of men touch little, however flattering they may be. Ignatius, who already saw nothing greater than contempt for mortal greatness, and who understood the danger to which a confidence would expose him, replied to his brother in two words, that he was far from doing a folly, and that he would always try to live as a man of honor.

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