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Ignatius Daily Reflections

Ignatius Daily Reflections

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Published by bqazidk

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Published by: bqazidk on May 12, 2009
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07/27/2010

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Ignatius Daily ReflectionsIgnatius 1In starting Ignatius, the first thing that stuck me was how his writing style in the third personview differed from Augustine and how clear and concise his narrative is. His writing isn’tconvoluted with monologues to God, but the third person narrative created in me a sense that thestory was being told by an unbiased narrator while I had to consciously keep in mind thatIgnatius was telling his own story subject to his biases and selection pressures in his memory.Ignatius starts off by taking about the vanity of his early years that, somewhat reflect Augustine,as a privileged Spaniard. Ignatius initially comes off as the most extreme stereotype of a toughman. He was a fierce warrior, and when injured by a hit from a canon ball, “…he never spoke aword nor showed any sign of pain other than to clench his fists. (22)” When injured he was giventhe books
The Life of Christ 
and
The Golden Legend 
to read.All this reflection time led to his conversion into a good Christian, and then he felt a great needto do penance for all his previous sins. He continued to live an extreme lifestyle by engaging inself flagellation. Signs of his violent past emerge when he feels the urge to kill a man whoquestions Mary’s virginity. Ignatius’ pilgrimage as a newly devout Christian also led him to giveup his wealth. One particularly interesting story is when he gave his clothes to a poor man butthe poor man was later threatened by other residents because they thought the poor man hadstolen the clothes. This tale made me feel sad for both the poor man and Ignatius, as Ignatius hadtried to do good for the poor man but the cynicism of the other residents got in the way andevoked a strong compassion towards the man from Ignatius.
 
Ignatius 2The third and fourth chapters of Ignatius’ autobiography seem to concentrate on his pilgrimage toJerusalem. He continues as a man of extremes. He lived off alms, didn’t eat meat, andcontinued on his quest even after falling ill on several occasions. Psychologically, he was able toresist temptations that encouraged him to abandon his trip. For example, he though he heard avoice saying, “How will you be able to endure this life for the seventy years you have yet tolive?” and responded by saying, “O miserable being! Can you promise me an hour of life? (34)”He also had had bouts of sadness regarding his previous sins, and seven hours of prayer alongwith confession didn’t help to the point that he considered killing himself (but thought it a sin).Fasting and reflection eventually led to comfort from God and the Trinity, though his tripcontinued with further illness and various visions/temptations. Since the multiple illnesses werestrong enough to cause high fever and vomiting, they may be the source of some of Ignatius’delusions that reflected on his inner self.Ignatius led his pilgrimage with great resolve. For example, he visited Mt. Oliver without aTurk guide and therefore put himself in danger. He even had to bribe the guards with a knife(then with scissors the second time around) to gain access, then was found and somewhatscorned by an individual from the monastery in which he was staying for his risky excursion. Isee these events as representing Ignatius’s impulsiveness towards his faith and somewhatreckless, as shown in the episode when Ignatius wanted to ignore the Provincial’s commands toleave the area because of the previous kidnappings and killings that had happened there- onlyfear of excommunication lead him to continue on with his pilgrimage.
 
Ignatius 3Chapters five and six of St. Ignatius’s autobiography Ignatius goes about preaching the word of God and gets himself into some trouble. I saw a certain turn around in Ignatius’ attitude at this point. Before he did go to extremes, but now even more so in a fashion that almost made methink he was subconsciously competing with the saints that came before him to be the holiest person around. He gives the story of the three ships, where the Turkish ship was destroyed andthe ship of the rich person that would not let him ride was destroyed, but the small ship that hewas riding on was spared in the storm. While he does not specifically say it, the implicationseems to be that the Venetian ship was lost because it would not allow him on board. He alsoseems to have lost touch with much of reality. For example, he ignored the Spanish soldiers’warning to leave the main road and was arrested on suspicion of being a spy. He thought of addressing the captain with the respectful title
 por senoria
rather than his usual title of 
vos
(thathe though Christ and the apostles used, but then thought it a temptation and said, “I will notspeak formally to him nor will I show him reverence nor will I take off my cap. (55)” By this point the captain “took him for a madman (55)” and ordered him released, no small event sincehe was accused of being a spy in a time of war. He got arrested again when he was preaching, yethe continued to preach even when in the jail. He could have had an advocate help get him out of  jail, but he even refused that. If he was thinking logically, he would have realized that it wouldhave been easier to spread the word of God while free. The disconnection with reality he isexperiencing is very obvious and worrisome, or perhaps he is thinking that being jailed andsuffering will help him strengthen his faith.

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