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

Footnote 674 The Exercitia Spiritualia S


672: One of Loyola's earliest biographers, Ribadeneyra, dwells on the eagerness with which Ignatius welcomed the slightest details of the life of his disciples in the Indies, and how he one day said: "I would assuredly like to know, if it were possible, how many fleas bit them each night."]

[Footnote 673: Loyola had long abandoned the vow of poverty; his faithful disciples, the circle of Barcelona ladies, sent him supplies of money, and e received sums from Spanish merchants in France and the Low Countries.]

[Footnote 674: The _Exercitia Spiritualia S. P. Ignatii Loyola, Fundatoris Ordinis Societatis Jesu_, and their indispensable companion the _Directorium in Exercitia Spiritualia B. P. N. Ignatii_, are to be found in vol. iv. of the _Insti. Soc. Jesu_. The editions used here are, of the _Exercises_, that of Antwerp, 1676, and of the _Directory_, that of Rome, 1615.]

[Footnote 675: A careful study of the _Exercises_, of the _Directory_, of Loyola's correspondence, and of his sayings recorded by early and contemporary biographers, has convinced me that the book was mainly constructed out of the abundant notes which Loyola took of his own inward experiences at Manresa, and that the only book he used in compiling it was the _De Imitatione Christi_ of Thomas a Kempis--a book which Ignatius believed to have been written by Gerson. We know otherwise how highly Ignatius prized the

_De Imitatione_. When he visited the Abbey of Monte Cassino he took with him as many copies as there were monks in the monastery; it was the one volume which he kept on the small table at his bedside; and it was the only book which the neophyte was permitted to read during the first week of the _Exercises_: "si tamen instructori videbitur, posset in prima hebdomada legere librum Gersonis de Imitatione Christi" (_Directory_, iii. 2).]

[Footnote 676: Cf. _Directory_, i. ii. v.]

[Footnote 677: It is explained that by "week" is meant not a space of time, seven days, but a distinct subject of meditation. The drill may be finished within seven or eight days; it may have to be prolonged beyond the twenty-five. The first meditation is the basis of all, and it may have to be repeated over and over again until the soul is sufficiently bruised (_Directory_, xi. l).]

[Footnote 678: "Prima continet considerationem peccatorum, ut eorum foeditatem cognoscamus, vereque detestemur cum dolore, et satisfactione convenienti. Secunda propcnit vitam Christi ad excitandum in nobis desiderium ac studium eam imitandi. Quam imitationem ut melius perficiamus, proponitur etiam modus eligendi vel vitae statum, qui sit maxime ex voluntate Dei; vel si jam eligi non possit, dantur quaedam monita ad eum in quo quisque sit, reformandum. Tertia continet Passionem Christi, qua miseratio, dolor, confusio generatur, et illud imitationis desiderium una cum Dei amore vehementius inflammatur. Quarta demum est de Resurrectione Christi, ejusque gloriosis apparitionibus, et de beneficiis, et similibus, quae pertinent ad Dei amorem in nobis excitandum" (_Directory_, xi. 2).]

[Footnote 679: "Punctum primum est, spectare per imaginationem vasta inferorum incendia, et animas igneis quibusdam corporibus, velut ergastulis inclusas. Secundum, audire imaginarie, planctus, ejulatus, vociferationes, atque blasphemias in Christum et Sanctos ejus illinc erumpentes. Tertium, imaginario etiam olfactu fumum, sulphur, et sentinae cujusdam seu faecis atque putredinis graveolentiam persentire. Quartum, gustare similiter res amarissimas, ut lachrymas, rancorem, conscientiaeque vermem. Quintum, tangere quodammodo ignes illos, quorum tactu animae ipsae amburuntur" (_Exercitia Spiritualia, Quintum Exercitium_ (pp. 105, 106 in Antwerp edition of 1676)).]

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