When you start a religion, it’s best to do it in a cave. That’s the conclusion that I’m getting while reading A Candid History of the Jesuits (1867) by Joseph McCabe. It’s an interesting review on the beginnings of the movement (one that I, admittedly, know very little about).
The book talks about how Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) got his inspiration. Much like the infamous Mohammed, he received his revelation in a cave:
“After a few months he found a cavern outside the town, at the foot of the hills, and entered upon the period of endless prayer and wild austerity in which he wrote his book, the Spiritual Exercises. He scourged himself, until the blood came, three times a day: he ate so little, and lived so intense a life, that he was sometimes found unconscious on the floor of the cave, and had to be removed and nursed; his deep black eyes seemed to gleam from the face of a corpse. Thus he lived for six months, and wrote his famous book.”
I guess it makes a lot of sense. Divine revelation is usually received in private. Of course, the inevitable question will arise: is the revelation fact or fiction? Well, that’s in the mind of a believer, I guess.
At any rate, I’m interested in learning more.
The Jesuits are a topic of controversy. According to McCabe, every book written on the Jesuits order has been biased in one way or the other: either excessively pro or con. You either love ’em or hate ’em. This reminds of a Jamaican man that I once knew; he claimed that the Jesuits controlled the Vatican and, subsequently, controlled all the leaders of the free world. My instinct was that he left his tin-foil hat at home; however, for the purpose of polite conversation, I bit my tongue. Now I get the chance to confirm my suspicions or remove them.
Any thoughts on the Jesuits? I have some educated readers out there and I’m open to learning more…
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