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Lecture 16    8 March 1940

Lecture 16     8 March 1940

Last time we  discussed the second week.

I told you that the main focus was on the life of Christ up to and including Palm Sunday, and that this contemplation leads to contemplation of one’s own way of life, starting with one’s choice of profession.

Specifically, by considering the life of Jesus, which followed a consistent thread leading to his tragic end, a process of self- reflection begins.

You cannot engage with the life of another person in such a thorough manner without your own life somehow being drawn into it.

One always mea sures one’s own experience.

Without wanting to or intending to, one draws one’s own life into the meditation.

It is therefore only logical that, at the end of the meditation, suddenly one also contemplates the way in which one conducts one’s life, one’s decisions, plans, and intentions.

And if you now consider your own life from the perspective of the life of Christ, it can only happen in one sense: namely, in terms of the totality—because the aim of the meditation is to induce one to identify completely with the life and the person of Christ and to review and examine one’s own life in terms of the imitatio Christi.

This is a critical point: the question of the imitatio Christi.

Should it be an imitation of the life of Christ such that one even gets the stigmata, like Saint Francis, or does it mean that each person should live life to the full, in their own way, until the bitter end, as Christ did?

Those are two very different paths.

It is clear that for medieval and more recent Christianity it was certainly a matter of the imitatio Christi, not about living one’s life sine imitatione— without imitation.

In any case, if in the sense of the imitatio Christi one lives and conducts one’s life in such a way that it corresponds to an imitation of the life of Christ, then it is a matter of taking up the cross— either in the almost literal sense of the cross of Christ, or alternatively taking up one’s own cross, namely one’s own conflict.

If, in the sense of the imitatio, the cross of Christ is taken up, then the conflict which is richly described in the New Testament arises.

It is the conflict of Christ with the world and the flesh.

If, on the other hand, it is one’s own cross, then initially we lack a definition, because the conflict is a more individual one.

Life that is lived fully in one sense or the other leads to suffering from conflict.

In any event, if the conflict is taken up, if life is lived fully in either sense, then a suffering in the conflict occurs from which there emerges a corresponding reformation

of one’s own way of life, in which henceforth the aspect of one’s own conflict is accepted.

After all, initially we all try to live our lives as conflict- free as possible.

There is a certain liberal view which we also see in the kind of “joyous Christianity” in which one is friendly with every one, always good- tempered, always smiling, and one is relieved of all because Lord Jesus Christ took on all the conflicts so I don’t have any.

That of course is no imitatio Christi; rather it is a way of dodging one’s own conflict.

It is thus entirely logical that the third week of the exercises is devoted to contemplating the Passion of Christ. 546

The first contemplation includes how Christ sent two disciples from Bethany to Jerusalem to prepare the Last Supper, and then also made his way there with the other disciples and how he, after enjoying the Paschal lamb and the Last Supper, washed their feet, gave them his flesh and blood, and held a sermon, after which Judas left to go and betray Jesus.

The second contemplation is of how Christ and his disciples descended from Mount Sion, where they had held the Last Supper, to the Valley of Josaphat; how he then left eight of them at a place in the valley and went with the other three to the garden on the Mount of Olives where he withdrew to pray to the Father, then woke his three disciples from their sleep; how then his enemies fell to the ground at the sound of his voice; how Judas gave him the kiss of peace; how Peter cut off Malchus’s ear and Christ restored it; how Christ was then arrested and taken away.

We don’t need to go into detail here.

We already mentioned all the essential main points, when we discussed the “Anima Christi.”

We already covered a good portion of this meditation there.

You must not imagine, however, that such shortcuts are also taken in the actual exercises—on the contrary, in the third week, the Passion is examined down to every last detail.

In order to influence the mood even more, the exercitants have to fast during this time.

The rules stipulate particular care in eating and drinking.

Bread is considered safe enough, but every thing else must be greatly restricted.

One has to meditate even when eating, while picturing Christ and the disciples eating supper together in Emmaus.

That is essentially the content of the third week.

The fourth week relates to every thing that happened after Christ’s death; the main meditation is on the meeting between Christ and his mother after his resurrection.

These exercises are referred to as “Exercitia de amore Dei,” exercises on divine love, but this designation only applies for laypersons.

In this final week, however, there is also a second meditation or a second aspect of these contemplations that is intended for the members of the Jesuit order.

I first want briefly to discuss the simple meditation— that is, the one that laypersons also do, following the old instructions of that Spanish monk Izquierdo.

So, in this last exercise the subject is divine love.

This is connected with the meditation on the meeting of Christ and his mother, which is about maternal love on the one hand, and filial love on the other.

This meditation is done in order to awaken love, in the first order divine love.

The following points must be meditated on: I first recall to mind all the beneficence that God has shown me.

Above all, the beneficence of the Creation. [. . .]

Then the beneficence of preservation [that God has kept me alive until now; which includes that continuous influence of the omnipotent God who keeps me alive, because if this influence did not take place continuously, I could not live for a moment; CGJ]. [. . .]

Then comes the beneficence of redemption.

Which includes the advent of the Son of God into the world [. . .].

And further, the aid of the grace in which we partake [through the Church; CGJ]. [. . .]

And then we recall all the particular individual beneficence that God has shown me [in the course of my life; CGJ]. [. . .]

I also have to observe the excellence of the giver in terms of the multitude and magnitude of the beneficence and the infinite intensity of the love from which the beneficence flows to me.547

The second point in the meditation is, [t]he manner in which God inhabits all creatures, how he inhabits the elements, how he lives in the trees and gives them life, in the animals, how he gives them the ability to sense, and in men to whom he also gives intellect [that is, intelligence; CGJ], and also in me by giving me existence, life, feelings and comprehension.

And moreover, how in his temple, which is created in his image, he has bestowed on every thing super natural gifts through which one believes in, loves, honors, and worships God.548

You see again here this conception of the absolute dependence of men on the creative primordial source, on the Godhead.

It is thus actually a psychological observation that can also be understood very scientifically: namely, that we are dependent on the correct functioning of our unconscious, of our whole life and of our dispositions, without which we cannot do anything at all.

So faithful Christians or Catholics who understand these things literally will have a conception that absolutely corresponds with the reality of nature.

That is a great advantage, because then one essentially has the right attitude.

But if you imagine you live from your consciousness or intellect, then you live downward from up here, and that is not right because it is against nature.

Consciousness is the happy result of natural life, but nowadays we like to reverse this eternal basic truth.

We think we can do everything we want, that we can pit our intelligence against nature.

But that is simply very bad for our physiological health and unhygienic for our nervous systems.

Thus I permit myself to consider these metaphysical things from the medical side.

That explains, for example, why it is that when people can make peace with their God, they feel a lot better in their nervous and physiological systems. Then they function properly.

When we are against nature, the body cannot thrive either.

The third point is, the way in which God works in all creatures, how he labors [. . .] in the heavens, elements, trees, animals, fruits, and also in me.549

So it is a precise observation and realization of the work of God in individual creatures and also in me.

And it is specifically to be understood that all things that befall me are the effects of that other from whom I am also derived.

This view also fits perfectly in the psychological sense, because if my unconscious does not cooperate with me, I cannot even formulate my next sentence, for example, because all the sentences I utter have already been preconsciously prepared and flow into my speech.

If then the preconscious functioning550 of the unconscious is disturbed, I find myself unable to remember things; for example, I might even have written a name in my notes, but if the unconscious decides to confuse me, it escapes my mind completely.

I am entirely dependent on whether the unconscious

labors in me or not, or, in metaphysical language, whether God labors in me or not.

If that is understood properly, it means once again one has a kind of attitude that is simply practical: it is mentally hygienic551 to consider

things in this way.

Because then I always give more attention to my unconscious, to how it is functioning, to whether it is moving with me or what it is actually producing.

That’s why the psychiatrist has to ask, “What did you think then? What occurs to you about that?”

The patient has long been receiving signs from the unconscious, has maybe had dreams.

And look there!

They were all there, but this patient was not the kind of person who paid attention to how God labored, worked in him; instead he believed he could sail on by using his head, and thereby capsized.

These truths in metaphysical form are somewhat difficult for modern people to stomach, but if we can stomach them despite the metaphysics, we have to ask whether the psychology behind them is not actually completely healthy.

Then we might make some discoveries.

In the fourth point, one has to “consider the way in which all created goods derive from the uncreated.”552

That is, how every thing that is man- made, all the great, good, and beautiful things that people make, actually come from the uncreated.

That is simply a continuation of the other meditation.

Insofar as I am convinced that all my conscious contents spring forth from the unconscious, I can also accept that all human

achievements ultimately stem from unconscious patterns.

That’s a Platonism, but it corresponds precisely to the structure of the psyche.

And then, at the end, Izquierdo speaks of love for God and says that “he who so loves finds nothing that he could love so much other than God.”553

So if one follows this belief and this insight, then one understands that the highest goal of man lies in loving most of all this power that completely carries him.

That is the end of the meditations for laypersons.

Now we come to the second part, namely the meditations that are specifically for the milites ecclesiae, the soldiers of the Church— that is, the members of the Societas Jesu.

This confrontation of Christ with his mother takes place after death. In a way, this event takes place in the afterlife, although his mother is alive. Christ, however, has already become a ghost at this point, an incorporeal being, and meets his mother after his resurrection.

What occurs is therefore somewhat super natural.

Psychologically, that always means something that actually occurs in the unconscious.

It is connected to the fact that the mother has a dual significance.

Not for nothing did our old friend Izquierdo here insert a meditation for laypersons with the purpose of making them aware of all they owed to the Godhead: that is, that metaphysical background.

He thereby expressed an idea which is represented in the symbol of the mother: namely,

that the confrontation with the mother is a return to the source.

The mother of Christ is the origin of Christ. He came out of her.

She is the mother soil from which he grows.

As the source, she is a symbol of that from which Christ always emerges, the ground on which Christ always stands.

And this ground on which one stands is in psychological terms the unconscious soul.

On it we stand, on it we repose. It flows into us.

It is the creator of our consciousness, and in this sense Christ is confronted with his mother, with his source.

This idea is taken up in the meditation for laypersons, but there the mother is replaced by the Godhead.

That happens in the Jesuit meditation too, but it also goes further, specifically in that the meditation on the background involves not only contemplating the good things God has done for me, but also considering the background, in the sense of the mother, in more detail.

It is as if the meditation were trying to break through into a psychological contemplation

and trying to understand this background in a different way, not just as the active, willing creator God, but also as a maternal nurturing being.

There is a connection here with the peculiar nature of the Christ image, that androgynous, masculine- feminine nature which I spoke about earlier in a different context.

This dual- gendered characteristic is connected with the nature of the unconscious.

The unconscious is neither masculine nor feminine, but something more. It oscillates between these qualities.

That’s why the old non- Christian creator gods are generally hermaphroditic.

All these gods of the Gnostic, Greek, or Indian traditions are generally hermaphroditic

because the psychological background— which is after all our sole model for such cosmogonic speculation— has a hermaphroditic character: the human being, that is, is hermaphroditic in nature.

It is only a matter of which genes are in the majority that determines whether a child is a boy or a girl.

But the opposite- sex genes do not disappear. They are always there.

That’s why each man has a female side and each woman has a male side.

There are people in whom the ratio is almost equal.

Thus we can see why there are some very masculine women and some very feminine men.

These things also determine homosexuality, provided it is not just a développement arrêté.554

But in addition there are also true hermaphrodites.

In any case, this hermaphroditic nature plays a significant role in the Jesuit meditation, although it is not considered with such rigid determination, as these things are prudently not thought through to their ultimate conclusion.

That would be too shocking.

One cannot necessarily allow oneself to admit such things: that’s why I also hesitated to attach such termini to them.

This confrontation of Christ with the mother means psychologically that the image of the whole person as he is comes into confrontation with his mother, with his unconscious: either in its divine form, as with the exercitia de amore Dei, or in its feminine form, as in the meditation on the feminine aspect, on the mother aspect.

It should actually be written in the exercises that the subject here is this feminine aspect which corresponds to the nature of Christ.

He could not appear in the background as an androgynous being if the background did not actually have this quality.

The Christ image would not have such a quality if it was not drawn directly from its matrix: that is, from the divine couple, from father and mother, as the Gnosis says.

That’s where the androgynous nature of Christ comes from.

The Jesuit meditation, however, says nothing about this aspect, but says the mother is the Church, ecclesia mater.

Thus the second professional part of this meditation is on the Church.

And its form is prescribed by Ignatius in his Regulae ascendium cum ecclesia— rules for feeling with the Church, or the right attitude to hold toward the Church.

We will now look together at the Ignatian exercise rules, that is, the rules that are given in the “Annotationes” [additional material] laying out how these exercises are to be done.

I’ll have to translate some parts of it for you. These parts are characteristic of the spirit of the Societas Iesu:

Rules to follow in view of the true attitude of mind that we ought to maintain [as members] within the Church militant.557

So feeling or thinking with regard to the Church:

Rule 1 Laying aside all our judgments, we ought to keep our minds open and ready to obey in every thing the true bride of Christ our Lord, our holy mother, the hierarchical Church.

Rule 2 We should praise confession made to a priest, and the reception                                                                                       of the Blessed Sacrament once a year, much more its reception once a month, and very much more its reception once a week, given the duly required dispositions.

Rule 3 We should praise frequent attendance at mass; also hymns, psalms, and long prayers, whether in or out of church; [. . .]

Rule 4 We should praise greatly religious life, virginity, and continence, and we should not praise matrimony to the same extent as any of these.

Rule 5 We should praise the vows of religion— obedience, poverty, and chastity— and other vows of perfection made voluntarily; [. . .]

Rule 6 We should praise the cult of the saints, venerating their relics and praying to the saints themselves, praising also the stations, pilgrimages, indulgences, jubilees, dispensations, and the lighting of the candles in the churches.

Rule 7 We should praise the decrees about fasting and abstinence [. . .]

Rule 8 We should praise the decoration and architecture of churches, also statues, which should be venerated according to what they represent.

Rule 9 Finally we should praise all the precepts of the Church, being ready to seek arguments in their defence and never in any way to attack them.

Rule 10 We should be more inclined to approve and praise the decrees and regulations of those in authority, and their conduct as well; for although some of these things do not or did not in the past deserve approval, more grumbling and scandal than profit would be aroused by speaking against them [. . .]. In that way people would be become hostile towards authority, either temporal or spiritual. [. . .]

Rule 11 We should praise both positive theology and scholastic theology[.]558

Then one has to show one’s unanimity (unanimitas) with the Church. We must be in conformity with the Church.

Rule 13 [W]e must always maintain that the white I see, I shall believe to be black, if the hierarchical Church so stipulates; for we believe that between Christ Our Lord, the bridegroom, and the Church, His bride, there is the same Spirit who governs and directs

us for the good of our souls because it is by the same Spirit and the Lord of us all who gave the Ten Commandments that our holy mother Church is directed and governed.559

So, because Christ is the Lord of the Church and because the Church, the sponsa, his bride, is derived from the same Holy Ghost that also governs us, we must believe what the Church says: even if we see white, we must believe it is black.

The next rule says,

Rule 14 Even granting as perfectly true that no one can be saved without being predestined, and without having faith and grace, nevertheless much caution is needed in the way in which we discuss and propagate these matters.560


Rule 15 We must not make a habit of talking too much about predestination [. . .] that simple people are not led into error, as sometimes happens with them saying, “It is already decided whether I am to be saved or damned, so whether I do good or evil can change nothing.”561

So that’s why one should not talk too much about predestination.

Rule 17 Similarly we must not talk of grace at such length and with such insistence[.]562

In order, namely, that no poison is generated that stultifies people’s attitude to free will so that they say, “Well what can I do? It’s no use whether I decide this or that if grace doesn’t come from above.”

The eighteenth rule, the last, relates to divine love, namely that we should serve God out of purest love, and that we should also fear the Divine Majesty, however, because that will greatly help one escape from mortal sin specifically, one must fear God with the fear of the son, that is, with a childlike fear. Interestingly, it is not an amor filialis, but a Timor filialis, which indicates the dual nature of the Godhead. God is not only to be loved, but also to be feared.

So if God is the summum bonum, he is only love, but apparently God also has another side that is to be feared.

You see in these regular those things that the Jesuits are accused of: namely, that they have a rather artful way of dealing with the truth.

They are after all the milites ecclesiae, who may only say and do things that are in concordance with the welfare of the Church.

And insofar as the Church is not just a mystical institution but a legal, worldly one (it extends into this world, hence the significance of the church state), it takes part in global politics, and it is well known that one cannot do politics without lying.

A Protestant reviewer of the exercises says, in conclusion, The Ignatian method is not lacking in psychological perspicacity and didactic calculation that even tips over into craftiness, but it does lack above all the character of “discretio,” a sensitive discernment and adaption to the spirits who are to be led—or better said: to be educated, that “discretio” which the wise educator Benedict of Nursia demanded as the main requirement of the abbot, i.e. of the spiritual father.563

In this respect, the Benedictine orders are organized in a much more considerate and less militaristic” fashion.

The consequence of this Ignatian intolerance in recognizing and permitting only their own methods is actually also a widespread hardening into the schematic across the whole Catholic life of edification, the so- called inner asceticism.

Even in this area in which previously individualistic, varied mysticism reigned free, all individuality has died out and been expunged since the preeminence of the Jesuit system.

Aridity prevails everywhere, and has extended deep into sermons and Christian teaching.

Catholicism has Ignatius to thank for that, though he prob ably did not mean it so.564

Even within the Catholic church there is actually considerable opposition to the Jesuit system.

But because it’s a practice that can be taught, a method that can be taught to anyone, and an effective one at that, then it is of course highly valued, because it can be schematically applied.

But the Benedictine discretio, and thereby also individuality, falls completely by the wayside.

And it begins precisely at that point where Ignatius (and one cannot blame him for that, but this is where the Jesuit order remains at the medieval level) does not think the matter right through and instead translates “the mother” as Church.

This is understandable, if one considers the weakness of human nature.

But we will see that in the Middle Ages, and even earlier, a movement arose that placed value precisely on that which lies within man— namely on that Augustinian565 point that is the punctiform image of the fullness of the Godhead— and tried to find the individual path, in opposition to the Church’s attempt to subsume the whole of the human soul into its institution. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Page 229-239