Today is the Jesuit feast of Our Lady of the Way. Roman devotion to Mary under this title (Madonna della Strada) goes back to a 5th century travelers’ shrine erected in Rome. A small Roman church with a plaster image of Our Lady of the Way was built in the late 14th century. It is here that St. Ignatius Loyola went often to pray. During his years as the first general superior of the Jesuits, he regularly prayed there with and for Jesuits about to be sent on mission to the far corners of the world. The current Jesuit Church of the Gesu was built on the same spot. This special devotion to Mary animates Jesuits to this day, wherever they find themselves “on mission.”

Today’s reading from Acts of the Apostles relates the ongoing missionary journeys of St. Paul, this time with Timothy. The mission outreach of the Church down through the ages encompasses the myriad ways the gospel of Jesus has been preached and practiced. Our individual baptism enrolls us in this missionary enterprise. In large and small ways, by word and example, we help the gospel become alive in our interactions with others. Under Mary’s protection we continue the work of Jesus; with her example we find strength to “do whatever he tells you.” Our Lady of the Way, pray for us!

—The Jesuit Prayer Team