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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dilemmas, disputes and repentance on the road to Manresa

The Autobiography of St. Ignatius 

dictated to Father Louis Gonzalez da Camara by St. Ignatius 

Autobiography of St. Ignatius 
Defence of the Blessed Virgin (ch. 2-page 34) 

From Aranzazi to Montserrat (March, 1522)

After his recovery his one wish was to 
make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He 
fasted frequently and scourged himself to 
satisfy the desire of penance.

Then dismissing 
his two remaining servants, he rode forth 
alone from Navarre in the direction of 
Montserrat, a mountain town of Catalonia 
in the northern part of Spain. (...)

(Some miles west from Saragosa)

While he journeyed on, a Saracen 
mounted on a horse came up with him. 
In the course of the conversation mention 
was made of the Blessed Virgin. The 
stranger remarked that though he 
admitted that the Mother of Christ had 
conceived without detriment to her virginal 
purity, yet he could not believe that 
after the conception of her divine Son she 
was still a virgin. He was so obstinate 
in holding this opinion, that no amount 
of reasoning on the part of Ignatius 
could force him to abandon it. Shortly 
afterward the Saracen rode on, leaving 
the pilgrim to his own reflections. These 
were not of the most peaceful nature. 
He was sorely troubled as he thought 
over the conduct of his recent fellow-
traveler, and felt that he had but poorly  
acquitted himself of his duty of honoring 
the Mother of God. The longer his 
mind thought upon the matter, the more 
his soul was filled with indignation against 
himself for having allowed the Saracen to 
speak as he had done of the Blessed Virgin, 
and for the lack of courage he fancied 
he had shown in not at once resenting the insult.

He consequently felt impelled by 
a strong impulse to hasten after him and 
slay the miscreant for the insulting lan 
guage he had used. After much internal 
conflict with these thoughts, he still  
remained in doubt, nor could he decide 
what course to follow. The Saracen, who 
had ridden on, had mentioned to him that 
it was his intention to proceed to a town 
not far distant from the highroad. At 
length, Ignatius, wearied by his inward 
struggle and not arriving at any determination, 
decided to settle all his doubts in 
the following novel way : 

      he would give free rein to his horse, and

  • if,on coming to the cross-road, 
             his horse should turn into 
    the path that led to the destination of the     Moor, he would pursue him and kill him ; 

  •  but if his horse kept to the highroad  

he would allow the wretch to escape.
 Having done as he had decided, it happened 
through the Providence of God that his 
horse kept to the highroad, though the 
place was distant only about thirty or forty 
yards, and the way leading to it was very 
wide and easy. 

Arriving at a large village situated a 
short distance from Montserrat, he determined 
to procure a garment to wear on 
his journey to Jerusalem. He therefore 
bought a piece of sackcloth, poorly 
woven, and filled with prickly wooden fibres. 
(...) and ended in Manresa.

Writer of Spiritual Exercises.
Founder of Manresa House (60 in the world). Plenty at the USA.


The Quran states that when the pains of childbirth came upon Mary, she held onto a nearby palm tree, at which point a voice came from "beneath the (palm-tree)" or "beneath her", which said " "Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; "And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee."

Then vv. 15-40 follows the story of the birth of Jesus, but like the account of the birth of John it differs significantly from the Gospel account. For one thing, the angel tells her only that she will be the mother of a “holy son” (v. 19) – there is not a word, of course, about his being “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), a concept rejected again in v. 35. Jesus is virginally conceived (v. 20). Ibn Kathir says that many scholars believe she conceived by the breath of the angel Gabriel: “Many scholars of the predecessors (Salaf) have mentioned that at this point the angel (who was Jibril [Gabriel]) blew into the opening of the garment that she was wearing. Then the breath descended until it entered into her vagina and she conceived the child by the leave of Allah.”
Mary still suffers the pains of childbirth (v. 23) – while in some Christian traditions she does not, since those are the result of the sin (Genesis 3:16) that Jesus is taking upon himself and expiating (I Corinthians 15:22). Here, Mary gives birth to Jesus under a palm tree (not in a manger as in Luke 2:7) as Allah comforts her in her pains with dates (vv. 24-26). A voice cries out from beneath her, “Grieve not! For thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee”’an-sura-19-“mary”/ 

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