Posted July 3, 2009
Book: St. Ignatius’ Own Story: As told to Luis Gonzalez de Camara
Translated by William J. Young, S.J.
Loyola University Press. Chicago. 1980. Pp. 138
An Excerpt from the Introduction
Here is St. Ignatius’ own story, with the authentic tone and clear strength which characterize the direct statements of the Saints. Reading it, we see the man in his true quality and watch the molding of his firmly knit nature into the great lover of Christ and loyal knight in his service which divine grace produced by its strange, sure ways. Brief as it is, this account creates a memorable picture of Inigo Loyola, the spirited Basque nobleman who left to himself would have been perhaps a soldier honorably remembered in a small sector of the Pyrenees, but who in fact gave up the opportunity. What he did accomplish shook his generation and went on to change the course of history by the powerful action of a current he set up, a force which mingled with many others but guided them too, an impact which is still shaping the human drama.
An excerpt from the book
To a Man Who Was Tempted
The recipient of this letter is unknown. He apparently had some connection with the community in Padua. He wished to return to his homeland or remain in the house at Padua, without however being a member of the community. This St. Ignatius refused to permit. In words that breathe of affection for the tempted man, Ignatius persuades him to leave the Society’s house, but not to return to his home. He should devote himself to good works and take up some study at Padua, and not omit proper recreation.
May the perfect grace of Christ our Lord be our protection and support.
I could not at all fail in the affection my heart feels for you, and so I will briefly answer your letter and that of Master Laynez, as God grants me understanding.
First, with regard to your going back home and living there, I do not think anything could be worse for you; because, as past experience proves, it is the last thing you should think of, as I have explained at length in other letters.
Secondly, I do not think that I could approve of your remaining in the house with Ours, nor can I feel satisfied that it would be a good thing; partly because you would not find the fruit you are looking for and which you have every right to expect, and partly because of the disappointment both ours and you would feel at their inability to help you in body and soul as the desire. All things considered, I always thought that it would be safer in our Lord, and better for all concerned, if you took lodging apart from ours in Padua, with some good companions, paying what you would expect to pay at home, and try that out for a year. You should go to confession frequently and have a talk with some of ours several times a week. For the rest, you could attend several lectures, but with the purpose rather of strengthening and clearing your mind than of acquiring academic learning for the sake of others. See that your associations are pleasant, and take some innocent recreation that will leave the soul unsullied, for it is better to keep the soul unsullied than to be made lord of all creation. By means of these interior consolations and the spiritual relish they will give you, you will attain to that peace and repose of conscience, and then, as your strength of body and soul allows, you can better give yourself to study for the sake of others, and be sure of better results. But above all, I beg of you for the love and reverence of God our Lord to remember the past, and reflect not lightly but seriously that the earth is only earth.
May God in His infinite and perfect Goodness be pleased to give us His perfect grace, so that we may know His most holy will and entirely fulfil it.
Table of Contents:
Chapters 1 to Chapter 11