June 21st is the Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
This image is of a statue of Aloysius near the front entrance of my school. In most artwork, Aloysius is depicted as a frail young boy. In this statue, however, he is larger than life and he is carrying a man ailing from the plague in his arms.
It is said that when the plague struck, Aloysius was nervous to work with the sick. He was squeamish and uncertain about taking care of others in this way. But in working with those afflicted, his fear gave way to immense compassion. And in the end, he gave his life out of love for those who suffered when he contracted the plague himself.
Whenever I pass by the statue of Aloysius, I wonder – Could I ever be as brave as him? Could I risk my own health and comfort to be compassionate to those that suffer? Could I believe the words of today’s Gospel and have no fear and move forward into the uncertainty with hope?
Today we are in the middle of our own plagues… and we are being invited to step in and show each other tremendous compassion. We are being asked right now to “be not afraid” and move forward in faith and hope.
Let us look today to this powerful image of Aloysius and imagine how we can lift up our brothers and sisters right now and shower them with compassion. Let us envision how we can be a vehicle to help others be not afraid.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.