Life of Ignatius – Day 39

The Greater Glory of God

39. Jesuits Attacked: jealousy and misunderstanding

In the days of Ignatius, the countries of Europe were almost universally ruled by monarchs.
Modern democracies hadn’t taken root. Ignatius had a policy of trying to convert those of influence to Christ in order that those under them would be subject to good Christian rule. In one case two Jesuits, Diego Miró and Luis Gonçalves da Câmara who, through humility and a desire for poverty, had not accepted an offer to be priest confessors to King John III of Portugal and his family, were told by Ignatius to take up the offer because of all the good such influential positions could achieve.
Pope Paul III also had granted the Jesuits a number of privileges such as permission to forgive certain sins normally reserved to bishops.

As the Jesuits grew, they also set up many charitable works and later schools and colleges.
These works needed a great deal of finance to establish them, and it was noticed that the Jesuits were receiving money from many sources, particularly rich widows.

It was soon noticed by many in power, that the Society of Jesus, a new religious order, was growing not just in numbers, but also very much in influence over the powerful.
Many were jealous. There were bishops who felt Jesuits had been given powers that should be reserved to them, families who felt that money given to establish colleges should have been given to family members.
Ignatius needed all his powers of discernment to judge which attacks to ignore and which to defend.

A thought to ponder

When we speak out of jealousy we are rarely aware of it.
Do you ever find yourself attacking people who seem to be more successful or more in the spotlight than you are?

Jealously can cause people to lose all sense of judgement. We only have to look at the social media to see how people decide that a certain person is ‘bad’ whether they be a prime minister, president or pope, and then everything they do, however good, is attacked as bad.
Ask for the grace to give credit where credit is due – to see clearly as God sees.

Scripture for the Day

As a way of praying today’s Scripture we suggest Imaginative Contemplation.

Matthew 27:15-23 NRSVACE

Now at the festival the governor (Pontius Pilate) was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted.
At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas.
So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’
For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over.

While he was sitting on the judgement seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.’

Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’
And they said, ‘Barabbas.’
Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’
All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’
Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’
But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’

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