|St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Moor|
While he travelled alone, engaged in his meditations, he was accosted by a man of the unbelieving Moorish race which had once occupied almost the whole of Spain, and which though subjugated still remained in considerable numbers in the southern and western parts of the Peninsula,
Christians in outward show, but secretly followers of Mahomet. The two travellers having saluted one another, and Ignatius having told the Moor the place whither he was going, they entered into a discussion concerning the Blessed Virgin. Though the Moor admitted that she had conceived without loss of her virginity, he denied that she remained a virgin after the birth of her Son.Ignatius, as a good Catholic, could not comprehend how in matters of faith, it was possible to admit one portion of the truth and reject another, and tried in vain to bring him to a better state of mind by reasons and comparisons, speaking with such vehemence that his opponent, who saw with what sort of a person he had to deal, deemed it prudent to take himself off, and so without a word more suddenly turned aside to a town that was near. Well was it for him that he did so, as Ignatius was on the point of taking him more seriously to task than he ought perhaps to have done, or than the other could have imagined. Scarce had the Moor left him, than, indignant at the blasphemy spoken against the Holy Virgin, he doubted whether he ought not even then to hasten in pursuit of him and wash out the injury in his blood. This, as he soon reflected, was to act more like the knight-errant than the apostle, and so a conflict arose within him, his feelings on the one side urging him to punish the guilty upon his own private authority, whilst reason told him on the other that he had no right to do so, and between these he knew not how to decide. In his doubt he resolved to leave the matter to God; and having arrived at a place where two ways parted, one of which led into the town whither the Moor had gone, he let fall the bridle on the mule's neck, and left it to choose which way to go. "If it takes the road," he thought, "which the blasphemer is gone, it is a token that I ought to pursue and punish him." The mule, however, took the way towards the mountain, and thus his conscience was set at rest, and he continued his journey without further thought of vengeance.