A misspent youth, getting caught up in riches and all sorts of vanity. A soldier, seeking the honors that the world tells him are worth pursuing. A stupid battle, a wound, a convalescence, a conversion. Christ calling him to leave behind the life he’d been pursuing in order to follow him with his whole heart. A period of various attempts to do what pleases God, making honest youthful mistakes. Traveling to the Holy Land. Eventually drawing others to him, founding a movement and later an official religious order that in time had a significant impact not only on the Church, but also the rest of the world.
I’m speaking of Francis of Assisi, by the way, though astute readers will recognize that the exact same could be said of Ignatius about four hundred years later. Francis was, along with Dominic, the model for Ignatius (“Sainthood for Dummies”)–the one whom he imitated in order to learn how to lead a holy life.
We could do very well to follow Ignatius’ example: imitating a saint, and in the process coming to discern how one’s own life story must depart from that example. Augustine wanted to be Ambrose; Thomas wanted to be Albert the Great; and so on. Who inspires you?