Despite the evident sanctity of St. Francis Borgia (1510-1572), third general of the Society of Jesus, he has not been altogether immune from criticism. Having introduced detailed “rules” on dress, prayer, and social interaction across the course of his generalate, Borgia is not uncommonly identified as the figure overseeing the transition from a charismatic and spontaneous Society to an “order” marked by military discipline and rigid uniformity. Whatever the justice of these remarks, I thought I would at least present the direction methods of Bl. Peter Faber, SJ (1506-1546), methods which suggest how, from the very beginning of the Society, discipline and uniformity coincided with spontaneity and charism. (This also relates to Fr. Monnig’s post about the “religious experience” and “holiness” models of spiritual direction).
Ignatius himself considered Bl. Peter Faber the most gifted director of the Exercises, and voted to elect him the first Jesuit general (the only vote Bl. Peter received). It was Bl. Peter Faber’s custom, however, to give “Instructions” toward the end of the Exercises in order to help exercitants “consolidate their fruit.” This “consolidation,” not surprisingly, required that uniform disciplines be undertaken by the exercitants:
In these ["Instructions"] Bl. Peter Faber recalls the end that must determine all the actions and the order that must be present in them so that they remain regulated according to God. Read the rest of this entry »