The 1962 Missale Romanum has this as the opening prayer for the feast of Saint Aloysius:
Cæléstium donórum distribútor, Deus, qui in angélico júvene Aloísio miram vitae innocéntiam pari cum pæniténtia sociásti: ejus méritis et précibus concéde; ut, innocéntem non secúti, pœniténtem imitémur.
O God, Distributor of heavenly gifts, Who in the angelic youth Aloysius combined a wonderful innocence of life with penance, grant to his merits and prayers that we, who have not followed him in innocence, may imitate his penance.
What wisdom the Church has. Of course, there are those who equal Aloysius in purity of soul, and even, I would think, surpass him. I’m one of those who don’t come anywhere near his clarity of vision, his agility of soul. That’s one of the reasons why he’s a patron of the hermitage. A good reason, no?
Take note of the vesting prayers for Mass, in particular that of the cincture:
Præcinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis; ut maneat in me virtus continentiæ et castitatis.
Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and extinguish within me all evil desires, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.
We must pray that all priests might always have this virtue, no? We want all priests to have that purity of soul, that agility of spirit whereby we priests might all take in what is happening at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, no?
I remember I was very quietly saying this very prayer in the sacristy of the chapel of Saint Gabriel in preparation for Holy Mass. A gentleman came into the sacristy who wanted to know what hymns were to be sung. He stopped himself from enquiring about this, and decided to berate me for praying such prayers, since that belonged to another time and we just don’t do that kind of thing anymore. Really? Today we don’t need these prayers? Really?
I remember that in the dark years of the latter half of the 20th century, Saint Aloysius was singled out to be mocked by those who should know better. They almost equated purity with being effeminate. This is really stupid. Only the most manly can be pure with the grace of God. I contend that people are scared to death of purity not so much because they won’t be able to indulge themselves in sensuality, but especially because they are afraid of the agility of soul that they would have, permitting them, by the Lord’s grace, to see what the wounds of Christ’s Passion and Death were and are all about. This is a crushing reality of truth and charity for those who are impure, but the weight of the glory of God bringing one into humble reverence before our Redeemer for those who are thankful in the Lord’s grace.
The artwork I chose for this post reflects his preoccupation at the end of his life. It is how he died, caring for those thrown away. He died of the plague he thus contracted, a man’s man expressing Christ’s love. Good on him.
If I remember correctly, that artwork is to be found in Santo Spirito in Saxia hospital on the Tiber River near the Vatican, where he did a bit of his care for the sick. It was in that very hospital where I myself was a patient. It was like being on the receiving end of his saintly ministrations. The nursing staff, however, were not expressive of the purity of Saint Aloysius. Yikes! I think that he should be a patron saint of health care workers.