Second place: Manuel Anton IV on St. Ignatius

The second place winner of the Saints for Our Times student essay contest is Manuel Anton IV, of Belen Jesuit High School in Miami, Florida.  Manuel submitted an insightful essay on St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Congratulations to him.  He’s the winner of $20 and a signed copy of Saints for Our Times: New Novenas and Prayers.

“St. Ignatius of Loyola”

         Throughout time saints have been the bridge connecting our faith and society. It is their great example that moves people today to help those in need. Since saints were first introduced to society they have been rejected and abused to the point of death. It is for this very reason today that we applaud these great people for all their acts of kindness. Saints are arguably the people who have made the largest impact on our lives. Whether we choose to say that saints have made a large or small impact on society, we can all recognize their individual effort toward the good of mankind.    
      Saint Ignatius of Loyola was at the royal Castle of Loyola in Spain, in 1491. Even though his family was wealthy he was a page in the Royal Court of Spain and often misbehaved. As a young man he made the great decision of becoming a knight. As a knight he fought for the King of Spain and his Duke. He was wounded in a battle in Pamplona having been hit by a cannon shot to the leg. As he recovered in his brother’s castle, he read the Lives of Saints. When he left the castle, he felt transformed and decided to go to confession. For one year he lived in a cave named “Manresa”. During his stay here he served the lord by praying and helping the poor. When he was thirty-five he went to the university and later became a priest. His friends and him wanted to serve God and the Church but were unsure where to start. They decided to ask the Pope if he would allow them to found the Society of Jesus. The society is known as the Jesuits. They serve the lord continuously by preaching to all, educating in schools, and practicing in retreats and missions. Many of this Society known as the Jesuits went to teach the Indians in America some of which died as martyrs. Saint Ignatius died in Rome on July 31, 1556. Today, the Jesuits continue teaching and serving in missions for the greater glory of God.
      Many of St. Ignatius’ teachings can be applied to our daily life. One and perhaps of St. Ignatius’ teachings include discernment. He defines discernment as either making the right decision or the identification of good prevailing over evil. This applies to our daily life in that we are constantly confronted with obstacles and temptations that appear to be good when in reality they are only pulling us further away from our faith. This means that whenever we make a decision we must first consider if it is inspired by our father or simply temptation at its best.
      St. Ignatius also reminds us that we must not make any serious decisions when we are in times of desolation for this is when we are most susceptible to temptation.  He also suggests that when we find ourselves in times of consolation it is best to prepare for desolation. This simply leads us to prevail over all desolate obstacles. He informs us that we must use strategy in difficult times. St. Ignatius says we must be bold and take any action to confront that difficulty. In his teachings he also informs us not to keep secrets for the devil uses them to fester evil. He always finished by telling us that over all we must know our weaknesses because when evil strikes us it will always attempt to manipulate our weaknesses to its advantage. It is for this reason that St. Ignatius is not only a messenger sent by God to deliver inspiration and wisdom, but we realize that he was man and struggled to fight temptation as we all do.

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