Ignatius on Lack of Spiritual Consolations (1554)

In 1554, the recently founded college in Salamanca included two priests and fourteen scholastics who were studying theology, but who were also zealously engaged in other works, such as visiting hospitals, preaching, and teaching catechism. Writing to Bartolomé Hernández, the new rector of the college there, Ignatius endorses his decision to have the Jesuit scholastics focus their outside contacts on fellow students at the university. He insists that lack of sensible devotion during studies is nothing to worry about.

For more sources from Ignatius, please visit the Letters of Ignatius of Loyola.



The peace of Christ.

Since spiritual conversation cannot be extended to everyone, it is quite right that it should be concentrated on students of the university; it will benefit not only them personally but many others as well by means of them, since such persons are capable of communicating to others whatever they themselves receive for the glory of God.

It is no cause for wonder that not all of our own students experience the relish of devotion that one might desire. He who dispenses this grace does so where and when he thinks fit. During the time of studies, which impose considerable spiritual effort, we may presume that divine Wisdom sometimes suspends sensible visitations of this sort, for although they give great delight to the spirit, they sometimes excessively weaken the body. Moreover, the occupation of the mind with academic pursuits naturally tends to produce a certain dryness in the interior affections. However, when the study is directed purely to God’s service, it is an excellent form of devotion. In sum, so long as one does not jeopardize solidity of virtue and gives the time prescribed by the Constitutions for prayer, with or without many consolations, he should not think there is anything seriously wrong, but should instead accept from God’s hand whatever he disposes in this regard, always laying more store by the more important things: patience, humility, obedience, charity, etc.

I have nothing more to add now, except to commend all of us earnestly to the prayers of Your Reverence and of all in the college there.

May Jesus Christ our Lord be in our souls with an abundance of his spiritual gifts.


Rome, July 21, 1554

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