Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
St. Ignatius, whose feast is today, joyfully models what Jesus instructs in today’s Gospel when he says to “carry the cross and follow” him. Ignatius decided to place his whole life in touch with Christ and the Church, and he lived to communicate the joy of that encounter. Ignatius shows us that God’s love is not a sort of reserve from which we withdraw inspiration when we feel dry, but something that can always make us new.
St. Ignatius guides people who yearn for a very real experience of God in their lives. He helps us know the invitation to encounter Jesus in his suffering and that we can find a renewed life even when life’s circumstances seem to suggest otherwise. Ignatius was left a new person at each new encounter with Christ, and the same can be true for us.
—Fr. Joe Simmons, SJ, is a priest of the Midwest Province and a proud alumnus of Marquette University High School and Marquette University. He begins doctoral studies in theology and literature at the University of Oxford in October.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me:
Within your wounds, hide me,
Do not let me be separated from you,
From the wicked enemy defend me,
At the hour of my death call me
And bid me come to your side,
That with your saints I might praise you
Forever and ever. Amen.
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