Gospel: Mt 7:6, 12-14
Do not give what is holy to the dogs, or throw your pearls before pigs. They might trample on them, and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
So, do to others whatever you would that others do to you: there, you have the law and the prophets.
Enter through the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the road, that leads to destruction, and many go that way. How narrow is the gate that leads to life; and how rough, the road; few there are, who find it.
According to the dictionaries, a nonconformist is “a person who does not conform to generally accepted patterns of behavior or thought” (Collins). Teenagers tend to be nonconformists in many ways. They have their own way of dressing, their music, their way of thinking and acting. This nonconformism can be a good thing if it consists in rejecting vice, but it can also be a bad thing if it consists in resisting virtue.
The saint we are remembering today was proclaimed “Patron of Youth” by Pope Benedict XIII, not only because he died at 23 but because he was a holy nonconformist.
The son of a high dignitary of the Spanish court, Aloysius fell in love with Christ humiliated and crucified when he was still a child. At age 16 he gave up his hereditary right to be prince of Mantua, in Italy. Despite the strong opposition of his father, he joined the Jesuits in 1587. Four years later the plague broke out in Rome where he was studying theology. Aloysius volunteered to serve the sick, whom he visited and nursed in their home. He did not catch the disease but he eventually died from sheer exhaustion on this day in 1591.
For the nonconformist youth of today, he is a great model to follow.
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