Ignatius on the Exercises (1556)

Fluvio Androzzi was already a priest when he made the Spiritual Exercises under the direction of Diego Laínez and entered the Society. Almost immediately, he embarked upon a life of successful ministries. Androzzi was one of the Society’s earliest spiritual writers, and his works, published posthumously, appeared in many editions and translations. In this letter, Ignatius advises Androzzi to trust in Christ, organize himself better, concentrate on giving the Exercises, establish priorities and delegate, and counter his personal limitations by growing spiritually.

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




The peace of Christ.

We received two letters from Your Reverence dated the twentieth of last month and the fourth of this, and we rejoice in our Lord over the opportunities that his goodness furnishes you for serving him in the help and spiritual consolation of the patrons, their household, and the people of the land; also [we rejoice] over the good health and spiritual contentment he bestows on you. And even if you have little time left to prepare your sermons, Christ our Lord will supply for it. Moreover, you might arrange your day’s activities so that more time is left over in case more is needed for one thing than for another. Their Lordships’ goodwill and devotion will be a great help to you in making any needed arrangements. Let us know when you think you will have satisfied Signor Leonello’s purposes, so that you and your companion can leave there in his good graces—or [remain there] if there are circumstances that will require you to stay longer.

Among the means that are of great and interior assistance to people, Your Reverence is aware of one that is outstanding: the Exercises. I remind you, therefore, to make use of this weapon, so familiar to our Society—although it is the First Week that could be given to large numbers, together with some methods of prayer. To give them in full form, one needs to find subjects who are capable and suitable for helping others after being helped themselves; otherwise, one should not go beyond the First Week. Your Reverence should look around a bit to see if you can find some good prospects for the Lord’s service; for them this method would be excellent. Frequentation of the sacraments also tends to be strongly motivating.

When you are very busy, you need to make a choice and devote your efforts to the more important occupations, that is, those in which there is greater service of God, greater spiritual advantage for the neighbor, more universal or perfect good, etc. Reserving a little time to organize yourself and your own activities will also be a considerable help for this. If there are people from the area who could take your place in some matters, it would be good to share some of the labor with them so as to be free for more important matters. Thus, it would be good for someone else to take charge of the processions you mention; they are not all that appropriate to our way of proceeding, although it is a fine thing that in order to get this holy practice launched, you started it off and gave the example to the others.

Some persons who have passed through Meldola and others who have informed us by letter have remarked how edified they were by you and your companion. We commend to both of you Our Father and all those you know.

As for the matters regarding your own person which you say sometimes cause you distress or sorrow, I hope that you will be daily freer of them through God’s grace; its greater enlightenment and increasing charity heals all these and other even worse infirmities of our nature. And I trust that Your Reverence has such a master in the Holy Spirit that there is no need for excessively multiplying advice on our part.

I enclose a letter from Ortenzio, and if you wish I will send other letters from our men who have been sent out from Loreto. I understand that our Curzio is moving ahead with great purity and edification. Master Gian Filippo [Vito] will also write about some other matters.

May God our Lord grant all of us grace always to know and fulfill his will.


Rome, July 18, 1556





Original Source (English translation):

Ignatius of Loyola: Letters and Instructions, ed. John W. Padberg, et al. St. Louis, Mo.: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996, “To Fluvio Androzzi, by commission, Rome, July 18, 1556,” pg. 696­­­–697.

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