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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal/Theological Notebook: Good Party/Bad Party; Sick Weekend; Ignatius of Loyola Revisited 
8th-Dec-2009 08:13 am
Ignatius of Loyola SJ
Feeling better this morning. I had thought that by Friday, I had shaken off the slightly sore throat and the general achy feeling I had had in the middle of last week. We gathered at Dan and Amy's for a Kopp's dinner, and talk that lasted so long, bouncing from one topic to another (its randomness made complete by a thorough examination of the latest in female eyebrow fashion, and by my revisiting my high school Public Speaking final by explaining the basics of constructing a nuclear bomb in response to a question from Amy), that we almost had to pass on our intention to watch the newly-released DVD of Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. But we did end up knocking off the film, and thus completing our long group BSG journey that had begun in 2004. Mike and Donna dropped me off at my place around 1:30 in the morning, coming in to a roaring party going on down the hall. I let that slide, despite living in an officially "quiet lifestyle" building, in hopes that it would pass shortly and with less fuss than if I called any building authorities or campus police. I began to second-guess that charity when I had to listen to a pile of guys standing around in the hall, bellowing at one another and at some lagging friend while they waited for the elevator, and then heard one of the young women whose apartment the party was in loudly agree with one of them that maybe they should be quieter, "because all my neighbours are assholes." I wasn't sure if she was the one I hadn't met, or the one whose misplaced package I delivered to her last month, but either way I thought that that line had earned a smackdown.

But when I woke up on Saturday, the ick was back. I spent the rest of the weekend grading and such, and just feeling crummy. My wrecked knee began to ache furiously, with the cold, I suppose, as has happened before when the weather turns colder in the autumn, making me feel like a 90 year-old sailor in a story, complaining of the changing weather that I feel in my bones. For a few years I haven't had to pull out the old cane I used when my knee went out, but I was thinking I might have to if this kept up. I capped off the weekend's joy with a summons for jury duty in the mail on Saturday. I couldn't focus very well, and so the grading went slowly.

What I did enjoy was the prep work that I was doing for the lesson I taught yesterday, which was on Ignatius of Loyola. I had the students read selections from Ignatius's Autobiography and from The Spiritual Exercises. Myself, I decided that I wanted a refresher in some of the backstory, and so I re-read parts of Jean Lacouture's Jesuits: A Multibiography (an old gift from Fr. Michael Heintz) and John W. O'Malley's masterful The First Jesuits, which I think I first picked up at the library while a student at Notre Dame. In storytelling fashion, I tried to convey some of the over-all drama of the origins of the Jesuits and their spirituality to the students in class, pointing out the connection between those events in the 1520s and 1530s and their own lives now at Marquette: without Iñigo López de Loyola going into his cave at Manresa and hammering out the spiritual experiences he underwent there into the notes that became the Exercises, Marquette University never gets founded and they never come. They never make the friends they make here, some of them never meet their spouses they meet here, never have the children they have. (I love noticing these cause-and-effect chains in history.)

So, from my backstory, we went into a new lesson, different from the way I have taught Ignatius to my Introduction To Theology students before, where we went back and contrasted Luther's spirituality (our previous lesson was on Martin Luther, reading a selection from his 1522 Preface to Paul's Letter to the Romans, which neatly summarizes his main insights) to Ignatius's spirituality, figuring out whether there were underlying compatibilities despite Luther's seeming rejection of any "work" or human activity as a precursor to the action of God's grace. The students picked up on the common focus both had to inner experience, especially: in Luther's search for authenticity beyond the illusions and self-deception that come with sin, and in Ignatius's use of imagination as a vehicle for gaining insight in mediation and prayer. I was pretty pleased with both discussions, though still wiped out when I got home. And delighted to feel better now.
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