St. Ignatius Loyola.
Preface of Father Louis Gonzalez, S.J., to the “Acts of St. Ignatius,” received from the lips of the Saint and translated into Latin by Father Hannibal Codretto, S.J.
Jesus, Mary. In the year 1553, one Friday morning, August 4, the eve of the feast of Our Lady of the Snows, while St. Ignatius was in the garden, I began to give him an account of my soul, and, among other things, I spoke to him of how I was tempted by vain glory.
The spiritual advice he gave me was this: “Refer everything that you do to God; strive to offer Him all the good you find in yourself, acknowledging that this comes from God, and thank Him for it.”
The advice given to me on this occasion was so consoling to me that I could not refrain from tears.
St. Ignatius then related to me that for two years he had struggled against vain glory; so much so, indeed, that when he was about to embark for Jerusalem at Barcelona he did not dare to tell any one where he was going.
He told me, moreover, that since that time his soul had experienced great peace in regard to this matter.
An hour or two later we went to dinner, and, while Master Polancus and I were dining with him, St. Ignatius said that Master Natalis and others of the Society had often asked him to give a narrative of his life, but he had never as yet decided to do so.
On this occasion, however, after I had spoken to him, he reflected upon it alone. He was favorably inclined toward it. From the way he spoke, it was evident God had enlightened him.
He had resolved to manifest the main points of his interior life up to the present, and had concluded that I was the one to whom he would make these things known.
At that time St. Ignatius was in very feeble health. He did not promise himself one day of life, but, on the contrary, if any one were to say, “I shall do that within two weeks or a week,” St. Ignatius was accustomed to say: “How is that? Do you think you are going to live that long?” However, on this occasion, he said he hoped to live three or four months to finish the narrative.
The next day when I asked him when he wished to begin, he answered that I should remind him every day until he had an opportunity for it. As he could not find time, partly on account of his many occupations, he told me to remind him of it every Sunday.
In the following September he called me, and began to relate his whole life clearly and distinctly with all the accompanying circumstances.
Afterward, in the same month, he called me three or four times, and told me the history of his life up to the time of his dwelling at Manresa. The method followed by St. Ignatius is so clear that he places vividly before our eyes the events of the past.
It was not necessary to ask him anything, as nothing important was omitted. I began to write down certain points immediately, and I afterward filled out the details. I endeavored to write nothing that I did not hear from him.
So closely did I adhere to his very words that afterward I was unable to explain the meaning of some of them. This narrative I wrote, as I have indicated above, up to September, 1553.