March 21, 2011

Fr. Martin's Jesuit Guide to Everything

Been reading Fr. Martin's book on Ignatian spirituality. St. Ignatius wanted to be a saint and lo and behold he did, though there were years of darkness and discouragement to be surmounted. What was surprising for me was how Ignatius had a mystical experience during which he 'learned more' than in all subsequent moments of enlightenment. To consider it "teaching" is interesting but in total conformity with what so many saints have said. I've always thought mystical moments mostly confirmed what someone already knew, like the fact that God is love. I thought it was mostly a tangible "feeling" that confirmed what the brain already more or less knew. But I got from Martin's book the sense that there was an actual infusion of knowledge. I always tend to think that the limits of our finite knowledge of God rest with the Bible and the teaching of the saints and Church. And what they teach is that we are to love others, that we're all connected somehow, and that we need to love God.

Ignatius said that Christ taught him "like a schoolmaster." It's likely fitting that God withholds some knowledge and shares it with the innocent as Jesus said. "I thank you Father for giving this knowledge to babes" or words to that effect.

St. Thomas had a mystical experience and saw all his writings as straw in comparison, and it's unlikely that a purely carnal experience could make the great intellectual saint so dismissive of his own efforts. It's as though he saw a much greater intellectual framework, though that's speculation.

The other thing I'd really like to read is why many of the early Fathers thought it fitting/appropriate for the Bible to be not easily grasped/interpreted. R.R. Reno has a book out with a few pages going into that. May have to borrow that book from the library.

No comments: