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Lecture 12 9 February 1940
Last time we finished looking at Przywara’s modern Jesuit meditations on the “Fundamentum.”
I read you the meditation on his anthropology, namely on his view of man as an analogy of God. God, in Przywara’s
conception, is a union of the opposites.
The Godhead contains the opposites, encompasses them, and has unified them within itself, while man is stretched taut between these opposites.
Man is also the opposites as pars totius.474
Man as part of the Godhead takes part in the whole being, in the substantial essence of the Godhead, and consequently also in the opposites, and these opposites mean con2ict.
That is why man is primarily a creature of conflict. We are taut with tension so to speak.
We hang between the opposites and are therefore analogous to the suffering God who is presented to the world in the 1gure of Christ— because in Catholic theology Christ is, as you know, at once true God and man.
Therefore, Christ is also a representation of the opposites contained in God.
He is the solution, the uniting of the opposites, but at the same time in his true human nature he is also suspended in the opposites.
He is crucified. Because the cross is the perfect expression of the pairs of opposites that combine into one point, so to speak, and Christ with his suffering is stretched out over this point.
Christ therefore represents God in his state of suffering. God is also an affliction: to be precise, an affliction within man, because he is the suffering man.
And thus man is actually in turn an analogy of Christ insofar as he suffers, but only insofar as he suffers.
As God is the causa exemplaris of man suspended between the opposites,
Christ is not only the causa exemplaris, but also the causa efficiens.
We are created in Christ,475 and created by him,476 as it is said; that is, from the suffering man, from the human which Christ is.
You must always keep this idea in mind as we continue with the other parts of the Exercitia spiritualia.
In connection with the “Fundamentum” and as praeparatio, by way of preparation and introduction, there is also an Ignatian prayer that gives a classic impression of the attitude of the meditator or exercitant who is preparing to undergo the exercises.
Once again, it is a Latin prayer.
It begins, Suscipe, Domine, universam meam libertatem. Accipe memoriam, intellectum atque voluntatem omnem. Quicquid habeo vel possideo, mihi largitus es: id tibi totum restituo, ac tuae prorsus voluntati trado gubernandum. Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi dones, et dives sum satis, nec aliud quicquam ultra posco.477
(Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will all that I have and possess. You gave it all to me; to you Lord I give it all back. All is yours, dispose of it entirely according to your will. Give me the grace to love you, for that is enough for me.)
This prayer shows you the attitude that is characteristic not only of a person undertaking the exercitia, but also the general formulation of religiosity in the West: namely, this surrender to the figure that one sees before one.
The Easterner would say, “What you see before you is a thought 1gure. It’s a figure created through your meditation, a creature from your thoughts,”— which for the Easterner is nonetheless real, for the Easterner, in identifying with the âtman, is the world- creating being.
People in the East can thus from their own minds produce figures that are real, even though they are thought beings.
Their gods are, as they well know, thought-figures, and yet they really are gods.
We Westerners cannot understand that at all, because we assume that if Christ is not really— vere, realiter et substantialiter478— standing in front of us, there is nothing.
We cannot imagine that we could also create such a 1gure, albeit under certain conditions.
These conditions may not be expressly formulated, but they are pre sent in the teachings of the East: one cannot simply create any old 1gure; it has to be one that is somehow pre sent in the essence of man.
But what is this essence in the East? It is the âtman. I can imagine the âtman, because I am the âtman.
Western people do not know that, do not know that they are imagining their essence.
But from the meditations it becomes clear that as pars totius, as part of the Godhead, the meditator has the ability to imagine this thought creature.
That is the purpose of icon worship in the Church.
It is a means of concretization, to help people have the ability to clearly imagine these 1gures.
Exactly like in the East, where the images per se mean nothing, but are merely yantras, tools, to help one imagine the thought 1gures, and the thought 1gure is the real thing.479
So people in the West give their whole being, their whole physical existence, so to speak, to this other creature standing in front of them, and of course one can hardly say without becoming blasphemous that it is perhaps a thought being.
For people in the East, it is quite obvious.
For us, it causes our brains a great deal of trou ble, because we think that that which we create with our mind is nothing, simply air.
Why? Because it cannot be proven with chemical formulae or weighed on the scales.
But it is nonetheless a real ity, it is a real ity just like any plan a person might come up with to build a bridge or design a locomotive.
That is not real either, it only exists in the designer’s head.
Not until it is constructed in metal and stands before us do we say it is real.
But for someone in the East, it is real immediately.
Thought creatures are entirely real. If, for example, we hear of people with strange ideas we think we can simply say, “That’s illogical, it’s totally unreasonable! Just send someone over and tell them!”
And then we won der why that’s no use at all.
Only well- meaning ignoramuses believe it’s pos si ble to set other people on the right path just by telling them what to do.
They would never dream of doing it. They are possessed, and this possession is a reality.
But we are so stupid that we think that if someone is possessed they are possessed by air, that it is nothing, just nonsense.
But possession is an absolute fact.
The usual methods are no use at all in such cases. You can’t talk people out of it.
Mere talking gets you nowhere. These are psychic realities480 that cannot be criticized with the usual methods.
They are psychological facts, albeit ones that do not 1t into our usual schema.
But who told you that was the only right one? If there’s enough time left, we still might learn someting.
This prayer demonstrates how absolutely Jesuits tried to surrender in order to make it through the exercises.
You can easily imagine that even if one only partially achieves this attitude, the whole undertaking of such an exercise sequence is a very serious business that takes hold of people at the deepest level.
Not, however, because one has to tell oneself unpleasant things and it is arduous, but because one is dealing with symbols that are suitable expressions for the innermost essence of man, that strike a chord somewhere deep inside. And at the end of the day, that is the reason such exercises exist at all, and why they can exert such a great in2uence on a person’s mentality.
The order of the individual exercises differs depending on the place and the time. I’ve already said a bit about that.
The sections we’ve been talking about, which I treated as a kind of introduction, can also be meditated on at other points in the exercises.
As I said, the exercise leader is free to and indeed is supposed to individually tailor the sequence, and depending on the exercitant’s abilities may bring one or the other section forward or leave it until later.
So the order is not absolutely set in stone, although the overall content is strictly formulated.
When all the exercises are done, all these individual parts will have come in somewhere.
Usually the examen generale et particulare forms the introduction to the actual exercises, which, as you will have noticed, we have still not come to.
This examen is an examination of one’s own conscience that one undertakes in order to purify and prepare oneself.
I want to use an old Jesuit introduction to explain a few points here.481 We don’t have time to go into great detail.
So, the intention is that the soul will be puri1ed through a scrupulous examination, a scrupulous investigation of one’s own condition, that is, of one’s whole psychic make-up.
It is a kind of mental analy sis of one’s own mind.
The criteria set are naturally the traditional standards established by the Church doctrine about what is sinful, what is good, and so forth.
So it says, “The soul is puri1ed by the acknowl edgment of the inner roots of vice in order that they be eradicated.”482
That also includes carefully noting individual occurrences in which these bad characteristics have been displayed, and noticing the speci1c conditions under which such things
happen, so that they can be avoided.
So in a way you have to look at your whole life from this angle in orde to put all your faults, anything which might be deemed sinful, under the microscope, so that they can be rooted out.
The form under which this examination of conscience is to take place is also prescribed.
Firstly the timing of each individual event has to be established: When did it happen? Where? In relation to what?
And then one has to undertake to avoid this sin, and one can do that by deciding not to commit this sin for a whole morning long, not even slightly, and in the after noon checking whether or not anything of the kind did indeed happen in the morning.
Now, if despite this careful research and monitoring it is not pos si ble to eradicate something straight away, the examen
particulare follows: that is, a par tic u lar examination of conscience with regard to this case.
In this case the exercitant has to examine in detail how it happened that this sin, or at least the temptation to sin, came near again.
Izquierdo says that those who take it seriously may even carry a string of little beads and every time they stray again they make note of it by pushing one bead to the other side, like an accounting of individual défaillances.483
Or they keep a notebook in which they mark lines to show how often in a day they had bad thoughts or other lapses.
This is all done as scrupulously as pos si ble and, as I said, like keeping an actual ledger of ccounts.
This examen generale et particulare is generally the preparation for the 1rst exercise. It is called the “meditation with the three powers on the first, second and third sins.”
Specifically, it is the exercise on mortal sin.
What does “mortal sin” mean? The Church distinguishes between peccatum mortale et veniale, mortal sin and venial sin.
The first is the serious kind of sin, while the second is the kind of sin that arises from ignorance, indifference, or foolishness.
Peccatum mortale is an intentional sin in which one knowingly contradicts God.
One deliberately puts oneself in opposition to God. Our author, a seventeenth- century Spanish Jesuit says about
that, There is actually only one single mortal sin, which consists in putting one’s goal in the creature and not in God.”484
That goal is the one we already talked in regard to the “Fundamentum.”
So in other words, it means that if you set your human goal above the spiritual goal of attaining God or of being reintegrated into the Godhead, you commit a mortal sin.
“No God, no heaven, no grace can now help the man who commits such mortal sin, and thus we should direct our human hate toward this enemy.”485
This is the end, then, which the exercises serve.
So you see, according to this view, the vast majority of Western humanity would be in this state of peccatum mortale.
Come now, it’s no laughing matter.
Now, let us for a moment try to ventilate this view: here is a doctrine which, however many millions adhere to it, is contradicted to such a huge extent by the be hav ior and attitude of countless millions of other people.
This of course means an enormous psychological difference between the people who are aligned with and adhere to such thinking, and the others who emphatically do not have this attitude, who have absolutely no idea of anything of the sort. Insofar as this conception really is the Christian view, and has been since time immemorial— namely, that man’s goal is in God and not in the creature— then we can state emphatically that the great majority of Western humanity has fallen by the wayside.
In fact, they are all 1endish brutes. Well, are they or are they not? We will see about that.
If Rus sia, for example, saw the attainment of God’s grace as its sole goal, there would have been no Finnish war and other such atrocities.486
So if we strictly apply the genuine Christian teaching, we would have to say that Chris tian ity has actually ceased to be a world religion.
That’s simply incontrovertible.
This meditation on the peccatum mortale takes place in three stages.
That’s why they are called the first, second, and third sins: first, one meditates on the sin of the angels.
It begins in the metaphysical realm.
The “sin of the angels” refers to the insurrection of Lucifer against the monarchia Dei, the autocracy of God, and the subsequent fall of the angels.
This is followed by the contemplation of the sins of the 1rst parents, Adam and Eve.
And then comes the third stage: the contemplation of one’s own sinfulness.
This is followed by the colloquy: a conversation, that is, with whichever of the divine 1gures the individual chooses. We have already talked about that.
Now we want to look at this meditation a bit more closely, using the
So the first sin is a primordial sin, a sin that occurred even before the creation of man, and that was the sin of the fallen angels. God created all angels, whom he blessed with countless perfections, in both grace and nature. [. . .] But a large number of them [out of hubris or superbia; CGJ] rebelled and committed mortal sin. [. . .]
And God then transformed these angels into demons. From the most wondrous creatures he created the most foul, and his most loving friends became his most hateful enemies.487
Here we also have to ask ourselves, “What does this mean? How does a person come to make such a statement?
Is it merely a fabulation or does it mean something psychological?”
If we reduce it to the psychic connections, it means that even before human consciousness arose, a split occurred
in those powers that were pre- conscious: that is, that are in our disposition, that lie in the unconscious.
So an absolute global contradiction was already pre sent in the unconscious disposition, as if between angels
It is notable that angels always come in multiples— for example, choirs of angels. The angel as an individual does not exist.
They are completely collective beings.
That’s why there also cannot be individual monks, only monasteries; because monks belong to the angelic orders, they represent the choirs of angels on earth.
That means, therefore, that these psychic entities are collective in nature.
And that also indicates that man, before developing an “I” consciousness, must be a collectivity, not yet aware of individual psychic existence.
The human being is initially an instinctive creature.
There is not yet the psy chol ogy of mother and father, family, clan, and environment.
There is not yet an individual psychology, in the same way as the infant does not have its own psy chol ogy, but still a collective one.
You can see that clearly in the dreams of early childhood, which are very unchildlike, because they consist of mythological
They contain things that children cannot possibly know, but that quite naturally stream out of the human mind, rather like magma that bubbles up from the depths of nature and corresponds to the whole constitution of the brain.
A natu ral functioning of a not- yet- conscious psyche, a natu ral brain function that produces such forms, the way partic
u lar 2owers grow from the seed of a par tic u lar plant, the way crystals follow the laws of crystallography, or a chick pecks its way out of the shell, or ducklings take to the water, and so on.
And the human mind also begins to function in this way in accordance with its disposition,488 and this disposition is collective.
You can see this in the dreams of very young children, but also later, specfically often in those who are mentally
ill, where the whole psyche swells up to the surface, bringing things that the ordinary mortal knows nothing about, thank goodness.
Then the most astonishing mythological images can emerge, such as are found in the lit er a tures of all peoples489 and epochs.
They are in effect the same thoughts and connections, sometimes literally so.
The small child is under no circumstances a tabula ra sa,490 or completely blank sheet of paper.
The writing on the page is done in invisible ink, but the page is not blank.
You know, like that ink that only becomes vis i ble when you go over it with that special stuff.
But when something happens in life that 1ts what is written there, then the lettering becomes visible.
So, in primordial times this split in the material occurred.
It is of course none other than the opposites manifesting in man, the opposites that are already pre sent before there is consciousness.
That is, the opposition between above and below, angels and demons, is already pre sent in the child from the beginning.
Well, that is the Christian predication.
That is the actual psychological meaning of a myth such as the fallen angels—it is none other than the divine nature which, as it unfolds in a person, necessarily reveals this contradictory nature, exactly as in the Christian legends this contradictoriness was revealed in Christ.
As a result, Christ’s image, the image of the cruci1ed one, is the exemplar for man which the person has to imitate in the imitatio Christi, because only then is he whole and able to unite the opposites of human nature, which then leads to redemption.
But we haven’t discussed that yet.
When I say, “God is the contradictoriness itself,” I am just formulating Przywara’s meditation.
But Przywara also knows the other side, because God is also the unifying force.
Now, this con2ict that exists a priori in man is the original sin.
That is the sin that has always been there, for all time.
Thus it is already the privatio justitiae originalis, the privation of the original justice of men, which then made itself apparent when the first parents were banished from paradise.
In the sin of the first parents; the fall of the angels was repeated.
One can say that in some way, despite the fact that God, according to Church doctrine, created the first people
in the state of iustitia originalis, original justice, this metaphysical event nevertheless played out again, so that they too had to fall and be ejected from paradise.
The text 1rstly speaks of the fall of the angels and the terrible punishment that was visited upon these fallen angels.
The author says, If God punished those creatures with such a horrible and everlasting punishment for all eternity because of one single mortal sin, what can the mortal being expect for his mortal sin, for his erring?491
This meditation must now be completed by incorporating the five senses: one imagines the condition of the angels in great detail, visualizes this extremely violent event as clearly as possible, and imagines the hellish unishments that follow, down to the smallest detail.
Then comes the contemplation of the second sin, its second occurrence, namely the sin of the 1rst parents. So,
God created Adam and Eve in his grace and friendship and blessed them with iustitia originalis and they were in a condition that was free of death and all the horrors of punishment.
He placed them in the paradise of plea sure, in Paradisum voluptatis.492
As you know, they were not able to resist the snake’s powers of persuasion and did indeed eat from the tree of knowledge.
They thereby knowingly contradicted God’s command:
And so Adam and Eve were deprived of the iustitia originalis for themselves and for their descendants and sentenced to death, exposed to the pain, weaknesses and other miseries of this world, and thrown out of paradise.493
The meditator again has to imagine this precisely, including all the details, and again mentally re create the event.
Then comes the third punishment, namely the one God uses to punish man, who is in a state of mortal sin.
It is enough that a person with one single mortal sin dies, that he is thrown into the all- consuming 2ames where he is burned for as long as God shall exist, as the faith [or the doctrine of the Church; CGJ] eaches us.494
That is, for all eternity. It is the eternal punishment of hell: That never- ending ocean of pity (pelagus miserecordiae).
He has now condemned those creatures for whom He hung His only begotten son on the cross to burn in the 1re which He has kindled for eternity, with no mercy ut rather with plea sure because He then has the opportunity to see how His in1nite righ teousness extends for all eternity. [CGJ:
Then he proclaims:] Oh terrible wickedness of mortal sin that is worthy of such a punishment.495
It is rather unusual for this aspect of the loving God to make an appearance, isn’t it?
One can hardly continue to call him a loving God.
He looks on, “rather with pleasure,” at how they all burn in hell, and for all eternity at that. Here a Deus absconditus,496 a terrible God, is unveiled.
It is the unveiling of the contradictory nature of God, who is a loving father as long as there is still some sign of hope for these rogues, the human beings.
But woe betide them if they do not obey him; then he is a terrible God, who can send people to eternal damnation and even enjoys seeing them burn in the fire.
This conception of God does not 1t with our Protestant view at all. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Page 186 -196