8 April 2014

Jesuits

Well, since we have Jesuit Pope, I've been wondering what guidance the Anglican Patrimony could offer on the Jesuit Question. Eric Mascall shares this anecdote about Dom Gregory Dix.

Dix was invited, by Cardinal Gerlier of Lyons, to lecture his clergy on Spirituality. In the ensuing discussion he was asked by an unidentified priest whether the Anglican clergy were taught Ignatian spirituality. Dix replied that it was the only kind that most of them were taught, and that this was most unfortunate, as it was a type that was very unsuitable to English people, so that most of them, having tried it without success, abandoned prayer altogether. There was a burst of laughter and the questioner, somewhat disconcerted, sat down with the remark, "Father, that was a very Benedictine sentiment". The Eminent chairman whispered to Dom Gregory, "That was the Father Provincial of the Society of Jesus".

I'm sure there's a profound message in that, given us by Providence for just this time and just this place, but I'm dashed if I can see what it is.

10 comments:

Pastor in Valle said...

I was once told that before he left the Jesuits, the modernist Fr George Tyrrell went around all the members of his community and asked whether Ignatian Meditation worked for each of them. In every case he received the reply; 'well no, not really. But I know it works for everyone else, so it's worth doing'.

Stephen said...

Hmmmm...I heard a Franciscan once say that Jesuits have no questions, only answers.

And there is of course the old saw that whilst the Jesuits take the vow of poverty, the diocesan priests keep it!

Melinda said...

Humor as part of both Ignatian sensibility and Anglican patrimony ... more patrons in Campion (and Waugh)?

Jesse said...

Most amusing! Did not a good deal of Ignatian thought find its way into the Church of England through [unacknowledged borrowings therefrom by] Jeremy Taylor?

I have been thinking lately, Father, that the Ordinariates ought to be looking seriously at the work of one of Fr. Mascall's brethren in Religion: Martin Thornton, OGS. His book English Spirituality: An Outline of Ascetical Theology According to the English Pastoral Tradition (London: SPCK, 1963) ought surely to be at the centre of the curriculum in the "houses of formation" envisaged by the Apostolic Constitution (VI.5).

Thornton would very much agree with Dix.

FrereRabit said...

As an Anglican Franciscan novice in 1989 (just as the Anglo-Catholic tradition was dying out in SSF) our little group of four trusting fresh-faced brothers was sent by the Novice Master to experience Liberation Theology with the Jesuits at Loyola Hall. (A base communities workshop with a bunch of hard faced sisters from Latin America.) We all became revolutionaries and went into a doctrinal spin. I converted to the Catholic Church three years later, looking for what I had lost. Of the others, two committed suicide and the third lost his faith. Excellent work, Jesuits.

GOR said...

I’m afraid I lost interest in Ignatian spirituality when I learned that St. Ignatius was wont to confess several times a day. That to me smacked of scrupulosity…and having battled scruples successfully in the past (I am now unscrupulous…) I did not want a relapse.

But de Sanctis non est disputandum… However, I feel much closer to Saints such as Augustine and Therese of Lisieux. Keep it simple!

Woody said...

From the preface to “The Mystery of the Church” by Fr. Humbert Clerissac, OP (Eng. Trans. 1937):
“…[H]e wrote (in a letter to an Oblate of Saint Benedict): ‘St. Teresa has captivated you. That is quite natural and it is sometimes good to be reminded of the notion of acquired virtue and of positive effort by the example of the saints of the reflective age who without any doubt God raised up in order to show that whatever is good and true in individualism does not escape his Grace and issues from it; in part, also, in condescending pity for men when the simple life of the Church no longer sufficed them,--finally from vindictive justice against the infidelities of the ancient Orders who, alas! Allowed the torch in their hands to grow dim. But do not forget that you belong to the Merovingian, the feudal times,-- to the primitives. Do not forget that you must allow divine Grace to effect everything in you and to count the products of your own activity for almost nothing.’

johnf said...

I am not sure whether this is exactly to do with Ignatian spirituality, Father, but when I was 16, a devout Catholic lady in our parish, who had raised 4 boys to Oxford and Cambridge with one a priest, gave my mother a book of "Spiritual Exercises" by St Ignatius. She thought that it might be useful to her, an Anglican convert.

Opening the book, on page 1 there was a detailed blow by blow account of the decomposition of the human body after death "first the body turns yellow, then black ..." And after that how rats get into the body consuming the soft tissue. We read with horrified fascination but never got past page 2. I eventually gave this book to my friend who was sort of thinking of the priesthood. I doubt if it helped him, as all thoughts of that state vanished when he met his first girlfriend.

Henri Adam de Villiers said...

"When Jesus was born in the manger, he opened one eye and saw an ox. He opened the other eye and saw a donkey. He then said: If this is the Society of Jesus, I should have stay in heaven!"
A story told during a homily (!) by a Jesuit who later became Bishop of Seychelles...

Michael Bradley, Jr. said...

As a fan of classic Ignatian spirituality, I would like to recommend the classic work that was read, outlined and meditated up by almost every Jesuit during his novitiate, at least once a day, for several centuries throughout the whole Catholic world:

Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues by Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J. (Spain, 1609), done into English for the first time direct from the Sapnish by Fr. Joseph Rickaby of the same Society (Great Britain, 1929).

Too bad the Jesuits abandoned this "gold standard" of formation during the 1950s,60s. Hopefully, some of their future leaders will be wise enough to reintroduce it.