Black Books

We will now turn to the real Jesuit Meditation of the Fundamentum as it is practised in the exercises.

I will again give you some examples from Przywara’s book “Deus semper maior”, as he gives us a profound insight into Jesuit meditation.

He also begins with: “man was created” or rather with man and asks himself: “what is man?”

As you saw in the case of the meditation on the Anima Christi, Przywara thoroughly investigates almost every word.

He says: “Mensch ist Geistwerdung des Leibes” (man is body which becomes spirit) and that he is “Leibwerdung des Geistes” (spirit which becomes body).

We must ask ourselves here: can we accept this point of view?

Is a body becoming spirit something which we can confirm from experience, has it ever happened?

It is, of course, confirmed in the dogma of the Church, the corpus Christi became spirit, it became the glorified body of Christ.

And though it does not belong strictly to the dogma, it has been conceded, from the days of the very early Church, that the body of Mary was also taken up into Heaven, where it became a glorified body, the only material thing in the celestial spheres.

Przywara ‘s meditation is founded on these teachings of the Church but, if we regard the matter from the psychological point of view, we cannot rely upon the dogma but must ask ourselves is there any psychological experience which would justify or prove body becoming spirit?

I must say that I could not bring any direct proof that such a process is possible.

I do not mean can the body be transformed into spirit but is there any experience of which we could say that it felt like the transformation of the body into spirit.

We say sometimes that a man looks like a ghost or a spirit but that just means he looks pale, thin and interesting but that has nothing to do with flesh becoming spirit.

But there is something which can be proved from everyday experience, not body becoming spirit, but body becoming conscious, man becomes conscious of his body.

We know from medical experience that many people are quite, or very nearly, unconscious of their bodies.

They do not know that they have certain bodily weaknesses and have no idea what they look like.

I have even had pathological cases that had to look at themselves in the mirror before they could utter a word.

And people often do not realise when they are hungry or cold, and treat such simple facts as if they were psychological problems, or live in a very foolish way because they have no idea what they are doing.

Such people really have no experience of their body, so consciousness of the body is no matter of course.

Every one knows theoretically that he has a body, but gymnastic teachers tell us that many people have no idea of their own physical existence and how they really breathe; whereas other people are quite conscious of this and of how they hold themselves and what their muscles are doing.

We must have a psychic image of the body, in order to become conscious of it, we must translate the physical fact of the body into a psychic experience. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, 19th January, 1940, Page 220-221