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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Article on the Spiritual Exercises

Rob Marsh SJ has a mention on his blog of an article of his - Id quod volo: The Erotic Grace of the Second Week - in the current issue of The Way, a journal of spirituality published by the British Jesuits. Here's how the journal introduces it ....

During the Second Week of the Exercises, we are called to grow in the love of Christ - it is only on this basis that good discernments about discipleship can be made. Rob Marsh uncovers some erotic elements in the Ignatian process, and offers directors of the Exercises some provocative suggestions about love.

It's well worth a read :-)


Blogger Jeff said...

Hi Crystal,

Being one who is somewhat fascinated by the relationship between the sacred and the profane, I find the topic of this article interesting. It's long and I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I recall a couple of things that Fr. Rolheiser said about this:

Spirituality is about how we channel our eros. Disciplines and habits we choose to live by will lead to either integration or disintegration.

(Unforunately) there has been a divorce between Religion and Eros. The Secular got passion, and God got chastity.

9:38 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


yes, it's interesting. I had a post a while ago about spirituality and desire ... it seems to be a theme with Spanish mystics like Ihnatius, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. It speaks to me.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I started reading this, but I need to print it out so I can appreciate it more. It is an interesting topic. I would add to Jeff's good comments that the creative process is intertwined in this, which is why you see it in mystics/poets like Teresa and San Juan. Art, I believe, is part of balancing control (technique/skill) with passion/abandon.

I think of Donne's Holy Sonnet XIV:

Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, 'and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, t'another due,
Labor to 'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue,
Yet dearely'I love you, and would be lov'd faine,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy,
Divorce me, 'untie, or breake that knot againe
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you 'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Great poem by Donne, William.

Yes, Crystal, I've been very busy. Last week I spent a lot of time on another blog in a conversation about Thomas Aquinas. This week I was working very hard and trying to get to bed early. I was exhausted. Also, sometimes I'm afraid that when I post here a lot, other people don't (hope I'm not driving any of your correspondents away). Sometimes I like to sit back and see what other people have to say.

As far as spirituality and desire go, I think there were always people in the life of the Church who understood well that faith and eros are intertwined, perhaps even more than the Church leadership does today. How else can we explain the existence of Bernini's La Beata Ludovica Albertoni in a chapel? See here and here.

5:16 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


I agree about art being a balance of technical skill and inspiration ... sometimes one or the other will be so great, it can carry on alone, but mostly not. I like that poem by Donne too :-)

5:24 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


don't worry about driving others away from here ... there are no others :-) I always like to hear what you have to say.

I hadn't seen that work of art before, but it's beautiful. it reminds me of a book Fr. Marsh mentione d awhile ago ... Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen.

5:31 PM  

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