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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

All of which things Contarini and Vittoria had at heart


through the body. But it is

hard to see how anyone who perceived with fatal clearness the working of the machinery should ever come to think that real piety could be created in such mechanical ways. To believe with some that the object Ignatius had was simply to enslave mankind, to conquer their souls as a great military leader might master their lives, is both impossible and intolerable. No one can read the correspondence of Loyola without seeing that the man was a devout and earnest-minded Christian, and that he longed to bring about a real moral reformation among his contemporaries. Perhaps the key to the difficulty is given when it is remembered that Ignatius never thought that the raptures and the terrors his course of exercises produced were an end in themselves, as did the earlier Mystics. They were only a means to what followed. Ignatius believed with heart and soul that the essence of all true religion was the blindest submission to what he called the "true Spouse of Christ and our Holy Mother, which is the orthodox, catholic, and hierarchical Church." We have heard him during his time of anguish at Manresa exclaim, "Show me, O Lord, where I can find Thee; I will follow like a dog, if I only learn the way of salvation!" He fulfilled his vow to the letter. He never entered into the meaning of our Lord's saying, "Henceforth I call you not servants ... but friends"; he had no understanding of what St. Paul calls "reasonable service" (=logike latreia=). The only obedience he knew was unreasoning submission,
the obedience of a dog. His most imperative duty, he believed, lay in the resignation of his intelligence and will to ecclesiastical guidance in blind obedience to the Church. It is sometimes forgotten how far Ignatius carried this. It is not that he lays upon all Christians the duty of upholding every portion of the mediaeval creed, of mediaeval customs, institutions, and superstitions; or that the philosophy of St. Thomas of Bonaventura, of the Master of the Sentences, and of "other recent theologians," is to be held as authoritative as that of Holy Writ;[684] but "if the Church pronounces a thing which seems to us white to be black, we must immediately say that it is black."[685] This was for him the end of all perfection; and he found no better instrument to produce it than the prolonged hypnotic trance which the _Exercises_ caused.

Sec. 4. _Ignatius in Italy._

In the beginning of 1537 the ten associates found themselves together at Venice. A war between that Republic and the Turks made it difficult for them to think of embarking for Palestine; and they remained, finding solace in intercourse with men who were longing for a moral regeneration of the Church. Contarini did much for them; Vittoria Colonna had the greatest sympathy with their projects; Caraffa only looked at them coldly. The mind of Ignatius was then full of schemes for improving the moral tone of society and of the Church--daily prayer in the village churches, games of chance forbidden by law; priests' concubines forbidden to dress as honest women did, etc.;--all of which things Contarini and Vittoria had at heart.

After a brief stay in Venice, Ignatius, Lainez, and Faber travelled to Rome, and were joined there by the others in Easter week (1538). No Pontiff was so accessible as Paul III., and the three had an audience, in which they explained their missionary projects. But this journey through Italy had evidently given Ignatius and his companions new ideas. The pilgrimage to Palestine was definitely abandoned, the money which had been collected for the voyage was returned to the donors, and the associates took possession of a deserted convent near Vicenza to talk over their future. This conference may be called the second stage in the formation of the Order. They all agreed to adopt a few simple rules of life--they were to support themselves by begging; they were to go two by two, and one was always to act as the servant for the time being of the other; they were to lodge in public hospitals in order to be ready to care for the sick; and they pledged themselves that their chief work would be to preach to those who did not go to church, and to teach the young.


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