Go forth and set the world on fire—but are you sure that’s a good idea?

I wouldn’t say the Feast of St. Ignatius is as big as Christmas at Loyola University Maryland, where I work, but three of the Jesuits said a special Mass followed by a low-key party.

Because today was a day with unexpected twists and turns, I ended up taking Leo with me to the Mass.
It was Leo’s first visit to Loyola’s chapel, so I reminded him to make his three wishes. They must have been food-related because at the party afterward, they were serving egg rolls and pepperoni and fruit kabobs—some of his favorite foods.
When one of my colleagues offered Leo a Fruit by the Foot, he practically jumped with joy. Then one of the Jesuit priests gave him a cross to wear around his neck. That’s when Leo realized this whole Feast of St. Ignatius might be a bit like Christmas.
Tonight as I was putting Daniel to bed, he noticed my necklace.

“Who dat man?” he asked.
“It’s St. Ignatius,” I told him.
“Did he get killed?”
“Well, no, but when he was an old man, he died and went to heaven.”
Daniel got upset. “Mama, I miss dat guy.”
“You do?” I said, a bit startled. “Why?”
“I like his beard.”
I assured him that St. Ignatius is in heaven and we can still talk to him. And I told him there are a lot of priests, and even Pope Francis, who are a little like St. Ignatius. I carefully didn’t mention how many of them have beards—a statistic I am not able to provide.
“And St. Ignatius told people, ‘Go forth and set the world on fire!’” I said.
“What?” Daniel said. “Why?”
I tried to explain that St. Ignatius didn’t mean that literally, but I could see the concern in Daniel’s eyes and the questions started flying. Setting anything on fire is a no-no for a 3-year-old. Finally I just changed the subject.
Lesson learned. When introducing St. Ignatius to a 3-year-old, only include quotes such as “Laugh and grow strong.” Or stick to talking about the beard.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.