Friday, June 17, 2011

The Jesuit Is No Dreamer: He Is Emphatically A Man Of Action; Action Is The End Of His Existence.

St. Ignatius of Loyola
It was an evil day for new-born Protestantism when a French artilleryman fired the shot that struck down Ignatius Loyola in the breach of Pampeluna. A proud noble, an aspiring soldier, a graceful courtier, an ardent and daring gallant was metamorphosed by that stroke into the zealot whose brain engendered and brought forth the mighty Society of Jesus. 
His story is a familiar one, — how, in the solitude of his sick-room, a change came over him, upheaving, like an earthquake, all the forces of his nature; how, in the cave of Manresa, the mysteries of Heaven were revealed to him; how he passed from agonies to transports, from transports to the calm of a determined purpose. The soldier gave himself to a new warfare. In the forge of his great intellect, heated, but not disturbed by the intense fires of his zeal, was wrought the prodigious enginery whose power has been felt to the uttermost confines of the world.

Loyola's training had been in courts and camps; of books he knew little or nothing. He had lived in the unquestioning faith of one born and bred in the very focus of Romanism; and thus, at the age of about thirty, Ins conversion found him. It was a change of life and purpose, not of belief. He presumed not to inquire into the doctrines of the Church. 
It was for him to enforce those doctrines; and to this end he turned all the faculties of his potent intellect, and all his deep knowledge of mankind. He did not aim to build up barren communities of secluded monks, aspiring to heaven through prayer, penance, and meditation, but to subdue the world to the dominion of the dogmas which had subdued him; 
to organize and discipline a mighty host, controlled by one purpose and one mind, fired by a quenchless zeal or nerved by a fixed resolve, yet impelled, restrained, and directed by a single master hand. The Jesuit is no dreamer: he is emphatically a man of action; action is the end of his existence. 
Link (here) to read the mentioned passage of the book entitled, Francis Parkman's Works
Who is Francis Parkman? (here) 


TonyD said...

I remember a Jesuit theology professor at Santa Clara paraphrasing some of the letters of Ignatius. Apparently, there are a few letters in private hands that survive, and will probably never see the light of day again. Very few are allowed to see them. I remember the professor saying that they were spread throughout the world, and that you had to know people who trusted you to see them. That knowledge was held by word of mouth.

They painted a very different picture of Ignatius.

It seems that there are those who want their religion to be filled with Saints above reproach and uncomplicated values -- apparently, this author is someone who desires this simplicity.

Really, I wish the Jesuits were less reluctant to share the complexity of religion. Many of them have studied these things - why not let the people in the pews know that simple interpretations are often mistaken? If they are defrocked for explaining complexity, then it is the Pope who bears the responsibility for the creating misunderstanding in his community.

Defrocking is a small price to pay for following in the footsteps of Jesus. These things do not go unnoticed.

TonyD said...

On re-reading my last comment I thought I should add:

Keep religion simple but not too simple. Share complexity but not too much complexity.

Clearly, there has been too much of an emphasis on simplicity -- at a cost to an understanding of the most important commandment - "love your neighbor".

We've been given centuries to learn to love our neighbors. Look at your community and the world. Not only do we fail, but we fail and then we justify our failure using simplistic interpretations.

TonyD said...

I think I'm going to stop commenting for a while. I'll keep reading while I'm able.

Joseph Fromm said...

Tony D,
How about once a week?



TonyD said...


Thank you for the suggestion.

It’s ironic that I criticize the Jesuits for keeping secrets while I am guilty of the same.

But I’d like to offer you something Joseph. It can be hard to see the importance of actions that we take in this lifetime. This blog, for example, might be seen as a very temporal and obscure pastime -- but some things have value and importance that can’t be seen or understood during our lifetime. This makes sense when you think of the Prophets and Saints who toiled in obscurity for years – often for their entire lives. So it is with this blog. There can be a significance that we can’t measure. Sometimes, we must trust that we are being lead by God. What I can offer you is my assurance that this is so.

Joseph Fromm said...

"...some things have value and importance that can’t be seen or understood during our lifetime."

You are very insightful into my motivations. My former Jesuit Director used to tell me to look for my "Threads of Grace" and follow them.



idssinfo said...

It can't have effect in fact, that is exactly what I suppose.