Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a saint who makes us uneasy. He's a little too pure and a little too scrupulous for our tastes. In the fifties, he was held up to youth as the great exemplar of chastity, almost alone out of all his manifold virtues. Depictions of him usually wound up looking like the androgynous "good boy" so beloved by pious women of the times.
So what’s a red-blooded American male to do? What can we learn from him? I suggest we emulate his determination, his devotion to the cause of his own salvation. He maintained a deep prayer life (and that famous chastity) in the midst of all the intrigues of a ducal court of Italy (he was born only about fifty years after Machiavelli described such courts in The Prince). All the perquisites of a young noble were his for the taking; he chose to become a Jesuit instead, in the face of fierce opposition. He could have fled Rome like all the rest; he stayed to care for the plague-stricken. He stood over and against the times—something we need very much to do today.
St. Aloysius, pray for us!