The Life of Iñigo Lopez de Loyola
To help us understand the call of the King and the two standards I want to tell you a story. It is a story of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things. His name was Iñigo Lopez de Loyola. He is known today as St. Ignatius Loyola, the Basque founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.
It is difficult for us in a democracy to think in terms of kings and standards. The ancient symbol of a standard is the colors of the king on a flag or banner. For example at the Olympic games, the top three athletes who have
crossed the finish line first, second and third stand on a three-step podium. The first palce winner of the gold stands on the top under the standard (flag) of his/her country. It announces to the world the athlete’s connection with his country and his/her and commitment to it.
In Iñigo’ time, it was the same thing. One fought for the colors, standard, of the kingdom. Iñigo de Loyola thought of himself as a knight although in actuality he really wasn’t. He came from the town of Azpeitia in the Province of Guipúzcoa in the Northern part of Spain. The Basques live in and around the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain from France, but they do not consider themselves French or Spanish. They are Basque. Their language is like no other language on the face of the earth, and their culture is rooted in a long rich and mysterious history. They are a principled race, stubborn and singularly minded. Even today some Basques seek to establish their own country separate from Spain.
The Loyola’s were a noble family but small nobility. Iñigo (Inigo Lopez de Loyola) was the last of 12 or 13 children, and from observation on his life, seemed to possess the youngest child syndrome. To give this an historical point on a life graph, Iñigo was born when the world was about to explode with the discovery of the new world and the upheaval of the reformation. To Iñigo, he was more interested in “how do I look” and “does this doublet make my butt look too big”? In other words, Iñigo was a self-centered punk.