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He needed to get over there pronto.
- Ordered Affection: Sexuality and Ignatian Spirituality
- Ignatius Of Loyola Spiritual Exercises And Selected Works Classics Of Western Spirituality
- Manresa and Saint Ignatius of Loyola
- The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Ordered Affection: Sexuality and Ignatian Spirituality
This essay will argue that Ignatian spirituality, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, offers a way forward in considering a response to these questions. It will focus on sexual desire and develop the thesis that Ignatian spirituality invites reflection on the harmonizing of all affections, including such desire, towards the end of union with God.
To be clear, it is important to begin with the observation that Ignatius himself had little to say directly about sex, and his view of marriage as subordinate to celibate religious life mirrored that of his contemporaries. Yet what he produced in the Spiritual Exercises is an invitation to an experience of God-or, more precisely, an invitation to reflection upon one's experiences of God-which involves understanding all the ways that one's life bears the divine imprint, despite being tarnished by sinful choices.
It is therefore possible to examine the dynamics of Ignatian spirituality with particular focus on the question of how it might invite a person to reflect upon his or her sexuality in the context of the desire for union with God.
To put the issue more colloquially, the person undertaking the Exercises-and, further, the person trying to live according to what he or she discovers in the context of the Exercises-is asking the question, 'how might I use my sexuality for the greater glory of God?
Next, I shall examine the Spiritual Exercises, paying particular attention to Ignatius' emphasis on the ordering of affection. Finally, I shall extrapolate from the text of the Exercises to explore some implications for what the ordering of affection might mean for sexuality. Christian Tradition and SexualityThe New Testament sources about sexual desire in itself are notoriously minimal.
In the synoptic Gospels, for example, Jesus extols marriage as reflective of God's design in the beginning Mark , Matthew , while rejecting sexual impropriety porneia, cf. Matthew There are Paul's warnings about sex, tempered by his recognition that marriage has been instituted by God: 'it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion' 1 Corinthians In the letter to the Ephesians there is the recognition of marriage as bearing witness to the love of Christ for the Church, even recognising the covenantal sign of man and woman 'in one flesh'.
Nowhere in the New Testament, though, do we find the kind of robust celebration of sex that we see, for example, in the Song of Songs; more frequently, we encounter caution about a passion which, if not moderated by the will to serve the new covenant instituted by Christ, will lead one away from union with God in heaven, where men and women 'neither marry nor are given in marriage' Mark , Matthew , Luke The predominant patristic view of sexuality, influenced as it was by Stoic and Neoplatonic sources, coalesced in Augustine's suspicion that even the best sex should be left behind in the ideal Christian life as tainted with original sin.
Romans , ; 1 Corinthians ; Galatians Augustine professed a lukewarm affirmation of sex, surprising considering the even dimmer view of it held by some of his predecessors and contemporaries such as Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Jerome. Sexual language was certainly not a favoured vehicle for exploration of the spiritual life.
Some figures in the early Church, however, such as Gregory of Nyssa and Dionysius the Areopagite, could discern a truth about the contemplation of God revealed through the human experience of eros. Gregory uses both eros and agape to describe this love, a love which is essentially a desire for union with the beloved.
Sexual renunciation may signal a full embrace of divine will, but sexual activity in marriage can also be ordered to a divine telos and following the example of figures such as Isaac may also be the means by which a human being ought to obey God's will. Sarah Coakley describes it well:The key issue, in fact, for Gregory, is a training of desire, a lifelong commitment to what we might now call the 'long haul' of personal, erotic transformation, and thereby of reflection on the final significance of all one's desires before God.
The Ordering of Affection in the Spiritual ExercisesThe notion of spiritual athleticism that we find among patristic authors such as Gregory has its root in Paul, who used the metaphor of 'running the race' cf. In appropriating the notion of exercise, then, Ignatius was drawing from a long tradition of advice for spiritual discipline. Ignatius describes his Spiritual Exercises as aiming to help a person 'to master oneself and order one's life, without being swayed by an affection which might be disordered'.
In his Summa theologiae, which influenced Ignatius' own theology probably more than any other single work, Aquinas cited Augustine in describing charity as 'a virtue and our most completely ordered affection, [which] joins us to God and makes us love Him'. If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure of God and the welfare of your neighbour, you will enjoy freedom within. By undertaking the Exercises, a person learns skills to recognise disordered affection, in order to stay on course towards union with God.
Ordered affection emerges, then, as a discipline of the spiritual life. An obvious example is in the text of the Exercises, where he encourages exercitants to ask God 'for what [they] want and desire'. Exx 16 Similarly, the First Principle and Foundation emphasizes the right ordering of desire. Human beings are created to 'praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord', and to use all means at their disposal towards this fundamental goal.
Accordingly, Ignatius writes, people ought to desire neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honour nor dishonour, a long life nor a short one. In light of the exercises he prescribes, his implication is that the task of discernment is to discover the roots of desire, in order to discover which desires arise out of one's relationship with God. Ignatius' closing comment in the First Principle and Foundation is very telling: our job is only 'desiring and choosing whatever brings about the end for which we are created'.
For whereas Augustine held fast to the belief that all human desire concupiscentia was affected by the Fall-in particular, all expressions even of lawful procreative sexual relations 14 -Aquinas held to a more optimistic view. His theory of 'cooperating grace' left room for a human free will that was damaged by original sin, but not relies heavily on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, which describes the relationship between habits and the cultivation of virtue. In his preamble to an election in the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius recalls the First Principle and Foundation with the reminder that any life path that an exercitant chooses has to flow from the prior commitment to the end for which God has created him or her.
He uses the example of marriage, observing that some first choose to marry and then, by means of marriage, to serve God; he describes such people as 'wanting God to come to their disordered affections', transforming the end into the means and vice versa.
Ordered affection, by contrast, seeks to serve God first, and only then to choose marriage Exx Yet more than simply affirming the Church's doctrine, Ignatius recognises here that the choice to marry can represent an ordered affection, choosing something to which God directs a soul who loves God.
Moreover, following Aquinas, Ignatius would, we can surmise, affirm the goodness of sexual relations in marriage-which, according to canon law, rendered a valid sacramental marriage indissoluble.
Ignatian humanism was a long way from the Neoplatonic, Stoic and Gnostic suspicions of the flesh. An Ignatian Spirituality of SexIt is true that Ignatius and the early Jesuits held fast to celibacy as a prerequisite of the religious life, 20 but their early ministries show a willingness to cooperate with lay men and women; and Ignatius himself was quite comfortable in his many dealings with married and widowed women, as his ample correspondence shows.
For Ignatius and the early Jesuits, perfection in the spiritual life was not coterminous with a celibate religious existence, but rather with the election of the life to which God called the soul in love with God. This broadly 'vocational' emphasis in Ignatian spirituality provides the basis for thinking about an Ignatian spirituality of sex. In short: sexual desire, sexual expression, sexual activity represent ordered affection to the extent that they celebrate and manifest the life to which God has called the person whose affection is ordered towards the love of God.
The very language of the 'Contemplation to Attain Love', which is the culmination of the Fourth Week of the Exercises, is suggestive:First. Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words. Love consists in a mutual communication between two persons. That is, the one who loves gives and communicates to the beloved what he or she has, or a part of what one has or can have; and the beloved in return does the same to the lover.
Exx 21 The Contemplation aims at directing exercitants to engage in conversation with God as a lover; it is in this context that Ignatius includes the well-known Suscipe prayer 'Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will …'. Yet it also articulates a basic dynamism in all loves, including love between human beings: that of communicating 'being one together' the full reality of selves.
In the context of a sacramental marriage-a sacred, public vow to love the other as Christ loves the Church-sexual intimacy is itself no less than the water of baptism or the bread of the Eucharist: the real symbol sacramentum tantum of the reality of grace res tantum poured out through the mediation of the body res et sacramentum.
For just as the sharing of the body and blood of Christ ought to manifest a real love among the members of Christ's body, so too ought sexual intimacy to manifest a real love between husband and wife. Marital sexual intimacy may well be for some the most efficacious sacramental symbol res et sacramentum of all, because it is expressed and experienced in the flesh.
The theological anthropology implicit in Ignatian spirituality is particularly apt for an appreciation of the spiritual capacity of sexual intimacy: its emphasis on the ordering of affection through application of all the faculties of sensation suggests an image of the human person as capable of a sensory, physical encounter with divine reality. A key theme in the Spiritual Exercises is the use of sense in the ordering of all affection.
Ignatius' keen insight into the complexity of human experience allowed him to recognise the interrelationships among the will, the emotions and the intellect.
In particular, he understood how people experience doubt in their commitments, sometimes being swayed by temptations or false desires. Emotional attraction is not enough; one's commitment must be cemented, as it were, in the will.
But the movement from attraction to willed commitment is not a one-step process; it must be affirmed and ratified again and again over the course of one's life. They amount to a discipline of all of one's senses and emotions, so that these faculties may be put at the disposal of Christ and used for God's greater glory.
Ignatius' rules for the two types of discernment the first, of God's will in an election; and the second, of spirits or movements of the soul 25 are illustrative, because they focus attention not only on the complexity of often competing emotions and desires, but also on the fruit of the right ordering of affection. One cannot exactly 'demand' to feel a certain way, but one can, according to Ignatius, train the senses in a way that allows for the fruitful unfolding of love and for the eventual consolation that follows from a life ordered solely towards the praise, reverence and service of God.
The rules for discernment point to a basic datum about all affections: they 'precede' the will, in the sense that they do not arise as a result of choice and present themselves to the will as enticements to action.
George Ganss in his notes on discernment of spirits: 'The Exercises present two distinct forms of discernment: 1 discernment of the will of God and 2 discernment of spirits, which is a means to discerning God's will'. George E. A sacrament of encounter with the love of GodDiscernment is the process of choosing which affections to follow. The choice to pursue some sexual desires can be fruitful: those which enable couples to grow in greater love-to manifest their love in both deeds and words.
For this reason, it is appropriate and perhaps even necessary for people to practise some non-genital forms of sexual expression as part of the discernment process about a relationship. Sexual expression amounts to a training of the senses and the will, to allow the development of those senses that knit lover and beloved together in relationship. Sexual expression is powerful precisely because it can engage all the senses at once. As a real symbol, sexuality functions at the level of attraction, 'drawing together' a couple.
It is important to distinguish, then, between married sex and unmarried sex; for only the former represents an act of will ratified, as it were, through public commitment. From a historical standpoint, it is clear that Ignatius would never have counselled or been allowed to get away with counselling that sex outside marriage could be virtuous. Unmarried sex may be passionate; it may arise out of the perception of real love; it may be orientated towards the perceived good of the other; it may indeed be selfless.
But it is not an act of the will to the same degree as that which is founded on a public commitment to love as Christ loves the Church. To be precise, marriage represents an 'election', in the strict sense of the first type of discernment, that is, discerning the will of God for one's life-an irreversible decision.
Unmarried sex is more likely to be disordered precisely because it happens before or without the intention of a publicly affirmed election. It may arise out of the second kind of discernment of spirits, but Ignatius himself recognised that even discernment of spirits can sometimes be erroneous. Later, he writes of Ignatius's discovery that God is not the only source of pious thoughts.
James Gaffney puts it well:There are examples of perfectly decent people making perfectly decent vocational choices-like marrying a certain spouse …accompanied in each case by the intention of living a good Christian life in the chosen circumstances.
By Ignatius's standards, choices made in that way are corrupt and corrupting. And what makes them corrupt is their readiness to make ultimate purposes into pious afterthoughts. Restoring Holy Sexual DesireThe early history of the Church shows caution, and sometimes distaste for sexual expression even within the context of sacramental marriage.
Sacred and Profane Love, by Titianand sacramental theology, left the the way open for medieval and modern thinkers to begin to restore a positive appreciation of sacramental sexual desire.
Ignatius Of Loyola Spiritual Exercises And Selected Works Classics Of Western Spirituality
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The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people. Materials are based on The Ignatian Adventure , and Loyola Press bloggers offer their own reflections throughout the eight-week retreat.
Manresa and Saint Ignatius of Loyola
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The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
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Он должен настичь Дэвида Беккера. Халохот отчаянно пытался протиснуться к концу улочки, но внезапно почувствовал, что тонет в этом море человеческих тел. Со всех сторон его окружали мужчины в пиджаках и галстуках и женщины в черных платьях и кружевных накидках на опущенных головах. Они, не замечая Халохота, шли своей дорогой, напоминая черный шуршащий ручеек. С пистолетом в руке он рвался вперед, к тупику. Но Беккера там не оказалось, и он тихо застонал от злости.
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Профессионализм Хейла достиг высокого уровня, и у него появились знакомые среди интернет-пользователей по всему миру. Он был представителем новой породы киберпсихов и общался с такими же ненормальными в других странах, посещая непристойные сайты и просиживая в европейских чатах. Его дважды увольняли за использование счета фирмы для рассылки порнографических снимков своим дружкам. - Что ты здесь делаешь? - спросил Хейл, остановившись в дверях и с недоумением глядя на Сьюзан.
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