Aloysius Gonzaga (1568 -1591) whose feast day is today, was the son of a noble Mantuan family.
Destined by his family for a life as a nobleman he had other plans.
He desired to be a missionary and to commit his life to follow Jesus.
He joined the Jesuit order.
The plague hit Rome and he worked in the Jesuit hospital caring for the victims.
He caught the plague and died with the name of Jesus on his lips. He had wished to give his life in the service of God and his faith and indeed he did!
Many schools around the world are named after him. He is an example of a young man who had clarity in wanting to be true to his faith as fully as he could.
Aloysius had clarity of purpose and conviction.
He had that idealism that young people are so capable of.
I find the idealism of young people energising. They need good role models and mentors who believe in the goodness and abilities present in them.
People like Joseph Cardijn, Saint John Bosco, Saint George Preca, and so many others believed that young people are very capable of living good Christian lives in the service of others. They remind us to believe in our young people in our times.
The young need our encouragement, belief in them and our trust.
When the message of Christ is clearly presented, modelled, and lived it can be very contagious.
It is good for us who are older to keep reflecting on what values and ideals we are passing on to our young.