Lecture 3 22 November 1940
Today we are going to recapitulate the Exercitia spiritualia of Saint Ignatius.
The exercises were invented by Saint Ignatius, but there’s also some history behind them. They had precursors.
They emerged from two sources, namely from the prayer and meditation exercises of the so- called Devoti who directed spiritual exercises in monasteries centuries earlier.
That is one of the sources. The other source is Islam.
At the end of the eleventh century, there was a great theologian and scholar, Al- Ghazâlî, who died in 1111.
This theologian is the real spiritual father of Islam.
He initiated the whole mystical development within Islam.
He created exercises that were spread out over three or four weeks for the faithful to practice and deepen their mystical life.
Ignatius structured his exercises in the form of military drill rules.
He himself had originally been an army officer, and as he lay in his sick bed after being wounded he became acquainted with spiritual books from which he got the inspiration for the exercises.
These exercises take place over four weeks. Those are known as the large exercises.
There are also smaller three- day exercises, but they are no more than sermons by missionaries, whereas the large exercises are really and truly meditations.
The actual meditations are preceded by the praeparatio, the preparations.
Here two main texts are meditated on: the “Anima Christi” and the “Fundamentum.”
The “Anima Christi” is an old Church prayer to the soul of Christ.
Latin version goes,
Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, la va me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separariate.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me,
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te
In saecula saeculorum. Amen.
(Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.)569
This prayer is then meditated on line by line; in previous lectures we examined the meditation process in detail.
We have an excellent example and explanations in a modern work by the Catholic theologian and Jesuit Erich Przywara.570
volumes have been published to date.
There you can gain an impression of the incredible precision with which these lines are meditated on His elaborations on the “Anima Christi” and the “Fundamentum” are actually the best part of the whole book.
You will find there all the impressions you need of Przywara’s theology and ultimately also of Ignatius’s, as he weighs up the meaning of every word, as it were.
The purpose of this meditation is that the idea and form of the Christ figure— that is, the anima—is pictured through active imagination so vividly that one is in a manner of speaking transported into the presence of this image that actually exists, and ultimately absorbed into it, so to speak.
That means that the believer—we can no longer say yogi here— disappears completely into the self- created figure which of course, according to the official or orthodox view was not, however, created by the believer: because Christ is an eternal presence, which the meditator simply makes visible to himself through the imagination.
In a way, he simply supports his already existing conviction of the absolute existence of Christ, and through such an intimate and strenuous engagement with this figure, the meditator’s own being or soul is gradually transferred into the idea and form of Christ.
And as a result, the human being is elevated, which after all is the ultimate purpose of such a meditation.
As Przywara says, “Thus it is the perfect wholeness”: namely, the wholeness of this perfect God- man, a unity of “spirit and flesh, God and creature.”571
Those are Przywara’s own words. Christ appears in this meditation as a wholeness, not only of the person but also of the Godhead, insofar as he is simultaneously verus Deus and verus homo, according to the Church formula.
So: true God and true man at the same time, an all encompassing figure in the fullest sense of the word; namely, a figure that surrounds the human being and encloses it fully within itself.
Now as you already heard, this figure corresponds to the Eastern figure of the purusha, âtman, or Mahâsukha, which is the example we discussed last time, the figure of the mystical Buddha.
It is the idea of a being that completely encompasses the conscious man, a being that at the same time also raises up and elevates men to a wholeness which they would not be capable of on their own.
This elevated and greater being that encompasses man is known in the Indian definition as the transcendent self of human beings: not an I, but something beyond the I, a transcendent subject.
In Christian mysticism— not in Jesuit mysticism but according to Paul or John—it is the Christ in us, the “inner Christ,” to whom we relate “as the grape to the vine.”572
We are part of this whole, perfused by the blood of Christ. We share in his life, and it flows through us.
We breathe as it were with his breath and as a result we are entirely Christ, and yet we are
Naturally, the Eastern conception differs here. In the Eastern view, it is the yogi who becomes Buddha.
Here it is the exact opposite.
Man becomes Christ insofar as Christ takes man into himself. Christ is the agent, he stands before the believer, draws him in, and embraces him.
It is not the believer who embraces Christ.
Although such expressions [as “the inner Christ”] may crop up, that is not the intention. is only meant like that in the East.
There, that is, there is no subject present other than the yogi. The Buddha does not even exist any more.
In the East, it is blasphemy to say there is still a Buddha.
Buddha has entered nirvâna, entered the state of non- existence, and has thereby demonstrated his perfection, shown that he was able to bring about his complete dissolution.573
If you think that the Buddhist worship before a Buddha statue is actually directed at this Buddha, you are completely mistaken.
The Buddha no longer exists, whereas in Christianity it is the opposite.
Christ exists, and that’s why in these exercises the person is transferred into the form, as it were, into the whole of this transcendent subject, and disappears as a human being.
That is after all the purpose of these exercises: namely, to make the subjective I- person dis appear, because it is that person who always willfully rebels against the discipline of the Church.
Now, this notion which I have just tried to explain to you is not some invention of Saint Ignatius; no, these are ideas that have been present in the Church for ages, and not just in the Church, but also in the activities of antiquity that took place outside the Church.
I’d like to read you a section from the Philosophoumena of Hippolytus in this regard.
He was one of the Church fathers and died as a martyr in the year 235 CE.
He was a presbyter in Rome, later becoming a bishop of a schismatic group that split from the main church due to disputes about the Godhead of Christ and ecclesiastical discipline.
He wrote a great number of theological works, including commentaries (his Commentary on the Prophet Daniel being the oldest preserved biblical commentary), essays opposing the Gnostics, a paper on the calculation of the Easter dates, and a chronicle of ecclesiastical law and dogmatic works.
His writings were widely disseminated in the ancient world.574 He was an opponent of Pope Callixtus.575
That was part of the Church’s chronique scandaleuse. The two of them had an unholy quarrel.
It was one of those cases where an introvert and an extravert rub up against each other, and for that reason it’s particularly interesting.
Hippolytus was hushed up by the Roman church, but his texts survived in Greek.
A Greek man rediscovered them on Mount Athos in the [eighteen-]forties.576
Hippolytus is one of the main sources of our knowledge of Gnostic, para- Christian systems, which are all derivations from that whole spiritual movement from which Christianity also originally emerged.
Hippolytus says, And you shall receive the kingdom of heaven, you who, while you sojourned in this life, knew the Celestial King.
And you shall be a companion of the Deity, and a co- heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease.
For you have become God: for what ever sufferings you underwent while being a man, these He gave to you, because you were of mortal mould, but what ever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon you, because you have been deified, and begotten unto immortality.
This constitutes the import of the proverb, “Know yourself”; i.e., discover God within yourself, for He has formed you after His own image.
For with the knowledge of self is conjoined the being an object of God’s knowledge, for you are called by the Deity Himself.577
As you see, this formulation is very dangerous, as it could lead one toward all sorts of peculiar ideas.
But this kind of avowal is very typical of the early Christian ideas.
You’ll find similar in Paul’s epistles, and Hippolytus here refers to 1 Corinthians 13:12, where it says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I(know even as also I am known.”578
Hippolytus takes this part literally, as it were.
This inner relatedness with God, this reciprocal relationship through relatedness, was an idea originally present in Christianity and was not actually lost until much later.
I would like to read you something else, but it is Gnostic rather than Christian.
It comes from another highly valuable document left to us by Hippolytus: the letter from Monoïmus, the Arab, to Theophrast.
Monoïmus is not known other wise, apart from through the work of Hippolytus.
In this letter Monoïmus writes, [S]eek for Him from (out of) yourself, and learn who it is that absolutely appropriates (unto Himself) all things in you, and says, “My God (is) my mind, my understanding, my soul, my body.”
And learn from whence are sorrow, and joy, and love, and hatred, and involuntary
wakefulness, and involuntary drowsiness, and involuntary anger, and involuntary affection; and if you accurately investigate these (points), you will discover (God) Himself, unity and plurality, in yourself, according to that title, and that He finds the outlet (for Deity) to be from yourself.579
This is a conception of the religious phenomenon as something absolutely psychological.
He even goes so far as to say that God himself has his origin in man.
That of course is in stark contrast to the truth of the Church: that he is a counterpart, a real “thou”; whereas here, God is not actually a “thou,” but is rather my innermost essence.
This teaching certainly tends in the Eastern direction. Monoïmus was an Arab.
It is not out of the question that around this time, perhaps the first century, influences from the East had already spread westward.
Indeed, there are also other reasons that make it quite likely.
In the second century before Christ there were Buddhist monasteries in Persia.
And in Hellenic- Egyptian literature there are a few very striking ideas that prob ably have a connection with India.
In India too, there are a few things that indicate links with the West, but we don’t know exactly how old these influences are.
This whole question is still very much in flux; we do not yet have sufficient information to properly evaluate these transmissions.
The interesting thing about this text is that the Godhead is made responsible for all involuntary mental phenomena.
So, for example if people fall asleep without meaning to, or are unable to sleep, or have unwanted fits of anger or sadness, it is not their own action, but is “a Deo missum”: sent by God.
We say, “ Don’t be so lazy! Don’t fall asleep! Pull yourself together!” as if one could tell God what to do, according to Monoïmus.
This view contains a very important perspective on assessing human emotions.
You all know that it is tremendously difficult to overcome emotions, to have complete mastery over them, as one says.
It is impossible to do so without eventually doing oneself harm in the process.
Habitual suppression of emotions is dangerous in certain circumstances; you could even say life threatening.
It’s not just that the emotions then fester— such suppression can cause an actual infirmity to develop, because you are internally compressed by the affects that never come to the surface, and it is then hugely cathartic when you can finally let loose.
And this over- empowerment of mental phenomena, the might of all psychological experiences that come to us, becomes the criterion for this inner Godhead, this willful arbitrary Godhead.
Now to the “Fundamentum.” The “Fundamentum” is a text that Ignatius puts at the start of his exercises.
I’ll give you the German580 version here:
The human person is created to praise, reverence and serve God Our Lord, and by so doing to save his or her soul.
The other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.
To do this we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no prohibition.
Thus as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.581
The “Fundamentum” is so named because it is the ideological and psychological582
foundation of the exercises, intended to make exercitants aware of the purpose of human life.
In contrast, that is, to our biological notion that men’s purpose lies within themselves, in this view man is created for a specific purpose and end.
The purpose is the laudare Dominum, to praise the Lord at the heavenly court in the mold of the royal courts of the Orient, to belong to the circle surrounding the Lord, to be part of
God’s world, a grape on the vine which has to return to the vine.
That is the purpose of human life and of mankind, and is also the foundation of
the whole of Christian morality, I mean this Jesuit morality: namely, to use created things only to the extent that they serve to reach this goal.
In Przywara, there is at this point an extensive meditation on the nature of God and the relationship of man to God.
That is to say, he talks about God as the unio oppositorum, the union of the opposites.
In God all opposites are united; in man they have fallen apart. Man is a conflict.
That’s why mankind is in a sad state, in need of redemption.
The redemptive thing is the unity, and that unity is God. Przywara says that the conflict, the rift, is where the symbol of the cross enters in.
That is this figure, namely the intersection: +. The symbol of the union of the opposites.
And the thing that unites, the unity itself, is the Godhead.
And so man meets the Godhead, as it were, in the center of the cross, as Przywara says,
in that man is the manifested opposite, but God is the unity of the opposites.
In the act of redemption, the human being becomes one, as God is one.
The symbol of the cross is actually for Przywara really the symbol of God, of the essence of God. God is a cross.
That is a very profound formulation: namely, that God himself is the suffering that is inflicted on men, in the sense that man is not God, is not unified, but is split in two and suffers from the longing and need to recover that unity.
That gives the split in the human soul an unprecedentedly novel and important meaning. But even that is not new, as luckily we have a very interesting text from antiquity, namely the “Erinnerungen des Heiligen Johannes an Jesum,” from Hennecke’s collection Neutestamentliche Apokryphen.
You can also find it in Dokumente der Gnosis by Schultz:583
And the Lord stood before me in the middle of the cave and illuminated it and said, “John!
For the masses below in Jerusalem I am crucified and stabbed with lances and sticks and drink vinegar and bile.
But to you I say, and listen to what I say, ‘I promised you I would come up on to this mountain so that you would hear what the pupil must learn from the teacher, the man from God.’ ”584
This scene takes place during the crucifixion on Golgotha.
He is transported to the top of the mountain where this revelation takes place.
We see here once again the symbol of the mountain: “Do you wish to see Christ transfigured? Ascend this mountain; learn to know yourself.”585
And with these words he showed me a cross with timbers of light, and around this cross a great crowd of figures flowing through each other with fluctuating forms.
And it had one single form and the same appearance.586
This “crowd” refers precisely to the multiplicity of the psychological entities in the human being, and here it has one single form, namely the human form.
Many things are combined within man and form a multiplicity.
That’s why the writer Carl Spitteler once called the “multiplicity of his soul” the “ peoples of his soul.”587
Above the cross [please note that it says above the cross; CGJ] however, I saw the Lord with no form, rather merely as a voice, not the voice that we were used to but a voice that was sweet and gracious, a truly divine voice, which said to me, “John! Someone has to hear this from me, because I need one who will hear it.
This cross of light will soon be called word by me for your sakes, soon spirit, soon Jesus, soon anointed one, soon door, soon way, soon bread, soon seed, soon resurrection, soon son, soon father, soon breath of spirit, soon life, soon truth, soon faith, soon grace.
And it has these names for the sake of the people; but in real ty it is the boundary of all things, actually conceived and proclaimed to us, and for that which is solidifled it is the sure release of all bonds, and the harmony of wisdom.
Because the harmony of wisdom involves powers of the right and left, forces, dominions, daemons, threats, rages, slanderers, Satan and the lowest root from which the essence of all created things originates.”588
That is the rhizome, the root, the elements, the chaos from which everything came about, the matter, the hyle.589
Now this cross (stake), which solidified every thing by means of logos and separated the things of formation from the things below, but afterward expanded into the All, is not the wooden cross you will see when you descend from here [the vision was on Golgotha; CGJ].
Also I, whom you now do not see but whose voice you hear, am not the one who is on the cross; I was taken for he who I am not, without being the one I was for the many.
Rather, what they will say of me is instead ignoble and unworthy of me.
And if even the place of rest [that is, paradise; CGJ] is neither seen nor described: how much less will one be able to look on me, the Lord.590
The uniform crowd around the cross is the lower humanity [that is the part of mankind that is in need of redemption; CGJ].
And you see it in the cross, even if not in uniform appearance; and it would never be completely consolidated by the descending logos.
But if the essence of mankind and the descending crowd is completely grasped by the logos, convinced by the power of my voice as you hear it now, then I will no longer be who I am now.
Because until you do not call yourself mine, I am not what I am. if you hear me, pause as soon as you have heard me, as I do; and I will be the one I was as soon as you, like me, are with me.
Because this rests with you.
The multitude, however, and above all those who are far removed from the secret, despise and recognize me rather as I am wholly with the Father and as the Father is with me.591
I did not suffer, therefore, from anything they will say of me.
But also that suffering which I showed you and the others in the dance I want to hear described as secret.
Because who I am when you look, that I have already shown you. but who I really am, only I know and no other.
Let me then keep mine, and be content to see yours through me.
But to look at me in reality is, as I told you, impossible.592 You hear that I suffered; but I did not suffer.
And you hear that I did not suffer; but suffer I did!
I was whipped and no strikes hit me; hanged, but I was not strung up.
The blood that flowed out of me did not flow; and all the things they say about me are not true, and the things they do not say are things I did suffer.
But I want to give you a hint about what that is: because I know that you will understand.
So think of me as of the word’s praise, the word’s flagellation, the word’s blood, the word’s wound, the word’s connection, the word’s suffering, the word’s solidification, the word’s death.
And through these boundaries I describe MAN.
Reflect on the words, then you will also understand their Lord, and the MAN as three and what he suffered.593
This most noteworthy text demonstrates the ways people have thought about these matters even as far back as the early days of Christianity.
Of course, Przywara doesn’t refer to this text, as it is not in the canon.
I don’t know whether he had it in mind at all, but actually it contains all the ideas that Przywara also expresses in his meditation.
Now regarding the sequence of the Ignatian exercises, as I already told you, they are split into four weeks.
The first week is spent meditating on the three aspects of sin: the sin of the angels and the insurrection of Lucifer against God, the disobedience of Adam, and one’s own sinfulness.
This is usually followed by a conversation known as a colloquy: that is, a dialogue between the exercitant and the Godhead.
But it is a one- sided conversation. Only the believer speaks, God does not speak. Nothing is mentioned about that.
Then there is a thorough meditation on one’s own sins, and then the colloquies are repeated, then the exercises again, and finally there is a meditation on hell, in which hell is imagined down to the finest detail.
The anguish of hell must now, says Ignatius, be experienced with all one’s senses, seen, heard— the cries of the damned— smelt— the stench of sulfur, smoke.
Finally, the burning of the fire must be felt, and this goes on for days.
In the second week is the meditation on the kingdom of Christ, the incarnation, and the nativity, which must also be imagined using the senses so that it penetrates every sense, it is felt, seen, heard, smelt, tasted.
Then comes the meditation on the circumstances of Christ’s life, especially the great battle of the principle of good, personified by Christ, against Satan.
There are Persian prototypes of this: for example, Gayômard, the Persian god- man who clashed with the forces of darkness.
Of course, that was long before Christianity.
Here we see the enactment of these battles with Ahriman, the god of darkness and of suffering.
It is the eternal battle between dark and light.594
That must be thoroughly meditated on in order to make it conscious in one’s mind.
The third week therefore logically follows with a meditation on the Passion of Christ.
This suffering is again the result of experiencing the conflict. This week involves fasting and mortification.
In the fourth week comes the “Exercitia de amore Dei,” the exercise on the love of God, in which God enters this conflict as redeemer and lovingly takes the person back into his fold.
This is followed by the meditation on the epiphany of Christ after his death, which underscores the transcendence of this subject and to an extent draws man, through identification with this Christ figure, up out of the temporal and into eternity.
Last of all are the famous rules, “Regulae ad sentiendum cum ecclesia,” on thinking and feeling in the Church, about bringing one’s attitude of mind into accord with the intentions of the Church.
Here Ignatius goes so far as to say that “the white I see, I shall believe to be black, if the hierarchical Church so stipulates.”595
And this demonstrates precisely the accusation that is leveled at the Jesuits, that they go against their own judgment. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Page 243-255