About the Author
St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491, one of 13 children of a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man Ignatius Loyola was inflamed by the ideals of courtly love and knighthood and dreamed of doing great deeds.But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, Ignatius Loyola experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him.Over the years, Ignatius became expert in the art of spiritual direction. He collected his insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book The Spiritual Exercises
, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatius conceived the Jesuits as “contemplatives in action.” This also describes the many Christians who have been touched by Ignatian spirituality.
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MUCH research has been carried on with regard to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The volume on the Exercises in the Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu1 bears eloquent witness to this. Many years of study have been devoted to investigating whatever concerns this great work. If proof of this is desired, the five volumes of the Collection de la Bibliothèque des Exercices afford ample evidence. In the restored Society of Jesus the initiator of this work was Father John Roothaan. By his letters, and by his scholarly translation and commentary on the Exercises, he infused new life into their study. The work has gone on increasing from his day. At present we know more about the Exercises than was known shortly after the death of St. Ignatius. A comparison of a good modern commentary with the Directory would establish this. I fear, however, that our English translations have not kept pace with the progress of modern scholarship in this matter.
There is no dearth of translations into English, all more or less literal.2
Such translations have the great advantage of enabling one to see almost at a glance what the original form of expression was. There is less danger, too, in these translations of interpretation and of substituting the translator’s ideas for the meaning of the original. Furthermore, emphasis is not so easily shifted to words or phrases in such a way that the meaning is changed.
But these translations also labor under great difficulties, and this seems to be especially true of the Exercises. In this case, a literal translation often fails to render the true meaning, and at times has no meaning at all. The most dangerous source of error is the use of an English word, similar to the Spanish and derived from the same Latin root. Thus determinar is translated as “determine,” and affectión as “affection.” Even if these English words represent the meaning of similar words in modern Spanish, this may not be true of the language of St. Ignatius. As a result, this practice has been the source of many errors. Words of Latin origin are simply transferred to the translation. Thus the words “annotation,” “composition,” “election,” “deliberation,” “deliberate,” and others are used, though their meaning does not correspond to the sense in the Spanish original. The consequence is that a terminology is developed which is not readily understood except by those who are familiar with the Exercises.
The sentence structure and the limping Spanish used by St. Ignatius present even greater difficulties. The modern Spanish sentence is very different from the English sentence, and this is even more true of sixteenth-century Spanish. It is above all true of the Spanish of a Basque nobleman who had only the elements of an education when he wrote his book, and used an acquired language with little knowledge of its literary form. If the long, loosely knit sentences of the Spanish original are retained in English, they make reading and understanding difficult, and turn people from the use and study of the Exercises.
One of the chief difficulties in translation is the constantly recurring participial construction. It is vague and not very clear in the original, and becomes impossible in English. It may stand for almost any kind of clause or phrase. To find the correct, corresponding English form means interpretation by considering the meaning in the context and in the opinion of the best commentators. Even in modern Spanish, finite forms must be substituted for the constantly recurring gerunds used by St. Ignatius. Frequently sentences must be broken up, and phrases must be made independent sentences. The result may appear a very free version, while as a matter of fact it is merely translating clearly and accurately into English.
The aim of this translation is to represent as nearly as possible, idea with idea, Spanish idiom with corresponding English idiom, Spanish sentence structure with English sentence structure, and the quaint forms of the original with the forms common at present.
Every effort has been made to add nothing and to omit nothing. Idiom may demand frequent omission of connectives where English understands them; accuracy may demand two words to explain one or a circumlocution where no convenient word is available; clearness may demand substituting an equivalent saying or figure for the Spanish where it would not be understood in English. But all these things are required for a correct translation.
The intention is to produce a clear, idiomatic, and readable translation. It is not possible to make a literary translation of a book that is really a set of directions. But by breaking up the long sentences, and by getting away from the Spanish idiom, it is possible to have a translation that can easily be read and understood. Many translations make such difficult reading that those who should be constantly using the book are deterred from doing so.
The text used for the translation is the convenient and accurate Spanish-Latin text, published by Marietti, Turin, 1928, and edited by the author of the critical edition in the volume on the Exercises in the Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu. This edition has convenient marginal numbers for every section, which the editor hopes to make official by inserting in a revision of the critical edition. They prove very useful for cross reference and for gathering material on the Exercises.
Great help has been derived from the excellent German translation of Father Alfred Feder.3 Since the German language does not use words of Latin origin, the translator does not fall into the error of choosing a word which is similar to the Spanish and derived from the same root, but totally different in meaning. Furthermore, Father Feder has used the latest studies to make his translation accurate.
Another great help was the scholarly edition of the Exercises in Spanish by Father José Calveras, S.J.4 The discussion in the introduction on the language of Exercises, and the notes giving the modern Spanish equivalents of the expressions and constructions of the Exercises were constantly consulted.
The section on the language of the Exercises, especially the glossarium in the volume on the Exercises in the Monumenta Historica, also proved very helpful.
The text has been kept clear of all references, and notes arranged according to the marginal numbers have been placed in the back. They are not a commentary, but state the reasons for the translation adopted and for the form used. Readers long used to Father Roothaan’s version and various literal translations may be surprised at the apparent difference between the present text and the traditional renditions. They will find in the notes the reasons for the change.
All of the standard commentaries have influenced the translation, but it is not surprising if the influence of Father Jaime Nonell, S.J., is evident at every turn. For many years his books on the Exercises5 have been the translator’s constant companions, and have been used by him as their clearest and most logical interpretation.
In conclusion the translator wishes to express his thanks for the many valuable suggestions by those who have read the whole manuscript.
Louis J. Puhl, S.J.
Pontifical College Josephinum
1 Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu, Monumenta Ignotiana, Series Secunda. Exercitia Spiritualia, Madrid, 1919.
2 There are three common translations of the text:
Morris, John, Text of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Westminster, Md., 1934;
Mullen, Elder, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, New York, 1914; Benedictines of Stanbrook, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Literally Translated, London, 1928.
There are three common translations with commentary:
Rickaby, Joseph, The Spiritual Exercises, Spanish and English, London, 1915;
Longridge, M. H., The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, London, 1919;
Ambruzzi, Aloysius, The Spiritual Exercises of St.
Ignatius, Mangalore, 1931.
3 Des Heiligen Ignatius von Loyola Geistlichen Uebungen nach dern Spanischen Urtext Uebertragen, 2 Aufl., Regensburg, 1922.
4 Calveras, José, S.J., Ejercicios Espirituales, Directorio y Documentos, Barcelona, 1944.
5 Ars Ignatiana, Barcelona, 1888; Los Ejercicios en si Mismos y en su Aplicación, Manresa, 1896; Estudio Sobre el Texto, Manresa, 1916. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius SOUL OF CHRIST, SANCTIFY ME
BODY OF CHRIST, SAVE ME
BLOOD OF CHRIST, INEBRIATE ME
WATER FROM THE SIDE OF CHRIST, WASH ME
PASSION OF CHRIST, STRENGTHEN ME
O GOOD JESUS, HEAR ME
WITHIN THY WOUNDS HIDE ME
PERMIT ME NOT TO BE SEPARATED FROM THEE
FROM THE WICKED FOE DEFEND ME
AT THE HOUR OF MY DEATH CALL ME
AND BID ME COME TO THEE
THAT WITH THY SAINTS I MAY PRAISE THEE
FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius 1. IHS
The purpose of these observations is to provide some understanding of the spiritual exercises which follow and to serve as a help both for the one who is to give them and for the exercitant
1. By the term “Spiritual Exercises” is meant every method of examination of conscience, of meditation, of contemplation, of vocal and mental prayer, and of other spiritual activities that will be mentioned later. For just as taking a walk, journeying on foot, and running are bodily exercises, so we call Spiritual Exercises every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all inordinate attachments, and, after their removal, of seeking and finding the will of God in the disposition of our life for the salvation of our soul.
2. The one who explains to another the method and order of meditating ...
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