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Lastly, it is no less easy to watch some movement, some action, an assault, a theft, some bargaining, and then reflect as to what course we shall take.

Well, our Lord for our sakes chooses easy methods. He promised by Isaias (c. xxxv.) that in His Church the path to truth should be so plain that a fool could find it. And in the cave at Manresa it was shown to St. Ignatius that the simple method here described is the best for contemplating the Life and Death of our Lord. It is supposed that our Blessed Lady was his teacher there, and made known to him that she herself while on earth followed this method of gaining more and more knowledge of her Son, and more and more sanctity for herself. She was nourishing her own holiness by studying carefully every Divine gift and grace poured out on His Sacred Humanity: The spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness (Isaias xi.).

She sometimes in silence with her eyes watched His features, His looks, His gestures, and through His external deportment tried to read the beauty and loveliness and holiness of His Soul within, and of His Divinity. Or again, she was contrasting the majesty of the hidden God with His outward littleness; His infinite wisdom with the fool's garment put upon Him by men; His boundless charity and goodness with the little love shown to Him. Then she turned back, or reflected on herself, and considered what she could imitate, how profoundly she ought to adore, how intensely she ought to love Him.

At other times, she listened most attentively to His words, and laid them up in her memory, and, as we read, compared word with word in her heart, and when she had industriously studied all their hidden sense and meaning and also noted well the tones of His voice, the earnestness, calmness, and gentleness with which He spoke, then she again turned or reflected on herself, and thought what fruit these Divine seeds ought to bring forth in her soul.

Lastly, with her eyes she watched His movements, His actions, how He walked, how He did His carpenter's work, how He ate His food; and, later on, how men struck Him and bound Him with cords, and crucified Him, and what was the action of His Sacred Heart towards them. After this, turning or reflecting on herself,

she considered what increase of sanctity and love she could gather from this spectacle.

This is the simple method of contemplationl which St. Ignatius proposes to us.

But first he teaches us what to do by way of

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PREPARATION FOR OUR CONTEMPLATION. Overnight.-I. As a preparation for our next morning's contemplation he directs us to select overnight from the Gospel, or some suitable book, the scene that we wish to contemplate, fixing well in our minds that part of the Gospel narrative which seems to us to contain good food for our souls, and especially noticing the words of our Lord or our Lady, or any other words which we select as the heavenly manna out of which we shall try next morning to draw refreshing nourishment. We must, I say, carefully note the words; because it is not sufficient to know in a loose way the sense of what our Lord says; for there is a grace and virtue and food for our hearts in the very words that come from His mouth. Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God (St. Matt. iv.).

Overnight.-II. In the next place, as St. Ignatius' method of contemplating is, we may say, realistic, we must also overnight try, as well as we can, to picture to ourselves the place where the scene selected for tomorrow's contemplation was enacted. St. Ignatius would have our representation to be as true and real as may be. He directs us to think whether the roads be level or hilly, narrow or broad, etc. He went himself to the Holy Land to note carefully all the different places where our Blessed Saviour worked or suffered. He marked carefully the height, the length, and breadth of the cave or grotto of the Nativity. He nearly lost his life in an attempt to ascertain the direction of our Saviour's footprints on Mount Olivet. Any such representations as the Passion Play, or a good panorama of Jerusalem—if correct and faithful and reverent-would be a help to contemplation

Contemplation, as distinguished from meditation, has to do, according to St. Ignatius, with scenes of our Lord's Life. Some commentators on his Spiritual Exercises have elaborated much detail as a development of his simple methods. "Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum" (Psalm cl.).

according to the method of St. Ignatius. He knew that virtue comes out from our Lord to us, and that as we cannot now see Him with our bodily eyes, we ought to employ the eyes of our imagination, which have often done us so much harm, to help us to gain more knowledge and more love of our Divine Master.

We shall value this method of contemplation more highly if we call to mind how prone we all are to imitation. The Prophet Isaias tells us that we all go astray like sheep (Isaias liii.); that is, by following a leader. Children imitate their parents, servants their master and mistress.

If, then, the Holy Family were now living near us, and a mother took her children to visit our Lady just when they are in the full glow of youth, they might possibly begin to give her in a loud voice and with much excitement the news of the day, the account of the last race or the late great wedding. She would listen kindly, and answer gently; but before long the loud voice of the young visitors would certainly begin to be toned down to hers. At the end of the visit, they would probably say to their mother one of two things—either, (1) " Do not bring us here any more, it is so dull”; or (2), “ Do please bring us very soon again to see this Holy Mother; she is so kind and so gracious”. If they come often, gradually they will unconsciously imitate her tone of voice, her gentle manner, perhaps her simplicity of dress. They are beginning to know, to love, and to imitate.

As we cannot now find the Holy Family on earth, we go back in spirit to the scenes of our Saviour's Life and Death, and try, as far as we can, to gain the fruits that would have come through our eyes and ears they present to our senses.

St. Ignatius, then, considers it of much importance that we bring these sacred scenes before us in an easy and natural

way; and therefore, because he knew that too constrained a position of body might hinder our endeavours to gaze familiarly on the pictures of our Lord's Life and Death, he tells us that we must not think it obligatory always to kneel, but can choose that position in which we find it most easy to represent to ourselves the sacred scene.

As few have travelled to the Holy Land as he did, we can only help ourselves with books and pictures, and fashion

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for ourselves the Garden, or the Supper-room, or the other sacred places, as best we may.

Overnight.III. After we retire to rest, St. Ignatius would have us recall before we fall asleep, for the space of an Ave Maria, the scene we are to contemplate in the morning, in the hope that it may be the last image on our minds.

Morning.-I. When we wake in the morning, he bids us turn at once to the scene selected for our contemplation before other distracting thoughts gain an entrance; and while washing and dressing, we are to try, by ejaculations or by reciting favourite vocal prayers, or in any other way that suits us, to keep congenial thoughts in our minds and shut out thoughts and images that would distract.

We know by sad experience how much an annoying letter or the remembrance of some imagined insult might hinder a contemplation.

Morning.-II. At the time of contemplation.-When the hour of our contemplation is come, he would have us, if we are in private in our rooms, before we kneel down or take our position, do something like what visitors occasionally do before they enter into a room filled with distinguished company; they pause a while to see if their dress is all in good order. Even so, the Saint directs us to halt at a pace or two from the place in our room where we intend to contemplate, and there standing, make an act of faith in God's presence, and, if it helps us, make some outward act of reverence, such as a genuflection or bowing of the head. This is to secure a good beginning, which, as the proverb says, is half the work.

Morning.-111. At the time of contemplation. In the next place, the Saint directs us to take that position which we judge most suitable to our work; kneeling, standing, sitting, prostrate on our face, as our Lord prayed in the Garden, or lying on the ground on our backs-in fact, choosing honestly and sincerely that position in which we think we can best gain id quod volo—" the fruit I desire;

1 Overnight, then, we do not begin to make our contemplation, but merely fix clearly the subject, the fruit, and the composition of place; we are not to begin to eat our dinner, but only to prepare the dishes carefully. Though at the same time it is true that if, during the day, we read about our Lord's Life, and are interested in it, and become full of the subject, it will be more easy next morning to fix our minds on the scene selected for contemplation.


that is to say, that position in which I can best use my natural powers and win the graces I wish for.'

Evidently, we must be honest and sincere; for if we choose a position simply because it is more comfortable, the result might be merely drowsiness, not contemplation. Note also, that if we choose an unusual position to which we are not accustomed, it may prove not helpful, but a hindrance.

Morning.-IV. At the time of contemplation.-Our position chosen, we are to make the following Preparatory Prayer, which never varies : Grant me grace, O God iny Lord, that all my intentions and (bodily) actions and (mental) operations may be directed purely to the service and praise of Thy Divine Majesty. The Saint knew that we might come to contemplate with any one of many different intentions -possibly, for the pleasure of a mental study, or to obtain some sensible consolation; or, if skilled in painting, because we wish afterwards to paint the scene; or because we are going to preach about it; or because we are properly desirous of gaining some spiritual good for ourselves. These motives might be good, but he wishes to teach us a more excel

If we contemplate purely in order to serve and please the Divine Majesty, our work is changed from copper or silver into good gold.

By our intentions, he means the aims and desires of our hearts. By operations, the work of our mental faculties, the memory, understanding, will, affections, and imagination. By actions, our bodily movements, change of position, etc.

Morning.V. During the contemplation.---The Preludes. --After this Preparatory Prayer, which, as has been said, does not vary, he recommends, as helps to the coming contemplation, three Preludes, which vary with the matter of our contemplation.

First Prelude.The subject.—Shortly, for a minute or thereabouts, we recall the subject prepared last night. In a picture-gallery, if we meet with a striking picture never seen before, we at once ask, What is the subject? So in the beginning of the contemplation, if we wish to proceed in an orderly way, we naturally for a moment set before our minds the story and the points selected the night before.

1 St. Ignatius does not mention walking as one of the suitable positions for contemplation; because, except for privileged saints who can pray always and in all circumstances, to contemplate wbile walking is extremely difficult.

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