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PRELUDE FOR MAKING ELECTION

First Point. In every good election, as far as depends on us, the eye of our intention ought to be simple, only looking at what we are created for, namely, the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of our soul. And so I ought to choose whatever I do, that it may help me for the end for which I am created, not ordering or bringing the end to the means, but the means to the end: as it happens that many choose first to marry—which is a means—and secondarily to serve God our Lord in the married life—which service of God is the end. So, too, there are others who first want to have benefices, and then to serve God in them. So that those do not go straight to God, but want God to come straight to their disordered tendencies, and consequently they make a means of the end, and an end of the means. So that what they had to take first, they take last; because first we have to set as our aim the wanting to serve God,—which is the end,—and secondarily, to take a benefice, or to marry, if it is more suitable to us,—which is the means for the end. So, nothing ought to move me to take such means or to deprive myself of them, except only the service and praise of God our Lord and the eternal salvation of my soul.

TO GET KNOWLEDGE AS TO WHAT MATTERS AN ELECTION OUGHT TO BE MADE ABOUT, AND IT CONTAINS FOUR POINTS AND ONE NOTE

First Point. The first Point: It is necessary that everything about which we want to make an election should be indifferent, or good, in itself, and should be allowed within our Holy Mother the hierarchical Church, and not bad nor opposed to her.

Second Point. Second: There are some things which fall under unchangeable election, such as are the priesthood, marriage, etc. There are others which fall under an election that can be changed, such as are to take benefices or leave them, to take temporal goods or rid oneself of them.

Third Point. Third: In the unchangeable Election which has already been once made—such as marriage, the priesthood, etc.—there is nothing more to choose, because one cannot release himself; only it is to be seen to that if one have not made his election duly and ordinately and without disordered tendencies, repenting let him see to living a good life in his election. It does not appear that this election is a Divine vocation,1515    It does not appear that this election is a Divine vocation is in the Saint’s hand, correcting we can not say that this election is His vocation. as being an election out of order and awry. Many err in this, setting up a perverse or bad election as a Divine1616    Divine is added in St. Ignatius’ hand. vocation; for every Divine vocation is always pure and clear, without mixture of flesh, or of any other inordinate tendency.

Fourth Point. Fourth: If some one has duly and ordinately made election of things which are under election that can be changed, and has not yielded to flesh or world, there is no reason for his making election anew, but let him perfect himself as much as he can in that already chosen.

Note. It is to be remarked that if such election that can be changed was not made sincerely and well in order, then it helps to make the election duly, if one has a desire that fruits notable and very pleasing to God our Lord should come from him.

THREE TIMES

FOR MAKING, IN ANY ONE OF THEM, A SOUND

AND GOOD ELECTION

First Time. The first time is, when God our Lord so moves and attracts the will, that without doubting, or being able to doubt, such devout soul follows what is shown it, as St. Paul and St. Matthew did in following Christ our Lord.

Second Time. The second, when enough light and knowledge is received by experience of consolations and desolations, and by the experience of the discernment of various spirits.

Third Time. The third time is quiet, when one considers, first, for what man is born—namely, to praise God our Lord and save his soul—and desiring this chooses as means a life or state within the limits of the Church, in order that he may be helped in the service of his Lord and the salvation of his soul.

I said time of quiet, when the soul is not acted on by various spirits, and uses its natural powers freely and tranquilly.

If election is not made in the first or the second time, two ways follow as to this third time for making it.

THE FIRST WAY

TO MAKE A SOUND AND GOOD ELECTION

It contains six Points.

First Point. The first Point is to put before me the thing on which I want to make election, such as an office or benefice, either to take or leave it; or any other thing whatever which falls under an election that can be changed.

Second Point. Second: It is necessary to keep as aim the end for which I am created, which is to praise God our Lord and save my soul, and, this supposed, to find myself indifferent, without any inordinate propensity; so that I be not more inclined or disposed to take the thing proposed than to leave it, nor more to leave it than to take it, but find myself as in the middle of a balance, to follow what I feel to be more for the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

Third Point. Third: To ask of God our Lord to be pleased to move my will and put in my soul what I ought to do regarding the thing proposed, so as to promote more His praise and glory; discussing well and faithfully with my intellect, and choosing agreeably to His most holy pleasure and will.

Fourth Point. Fourth: To consider, reckoning up, how many advantages and utilities follow for me from holding the proposed office or benefice for only the praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul, and, to consider likewise, on the contrary, the disadvantages and dangers which there are in having it. Doing the same in the second part, that is, looking at the advantages and utilities there are in not having it, and likewise, on the contrary, the disadvantages and dangers in not having the same.

Fifth Point. Fifth: After I have thus discussed and reckoned up on all sides about the thing proposed, to look where reason more inclines: and so, according to the greater inclination of reason, and not according to any inclination of sense, deliberation should be made on the thing proposed.

Sixth Point. Sixth, such election, or deliberation, made, the person who has made it ought to go with much diligence to prayer before God our Lord and offer Him such election, that His Divine Majesty may be pleased to receive and confirm it, if it is to His greater service and praise.

THE SECOND WAY

TO MAKE A GOOD ANY SOUND ELECTION

It contains four Rules and one Note.

First Rule. The first is that that love which moves me and makes me choose such thing should descend from above, from the love of God, so that he who chooses feel first in himself that that love, more or less, which he has for the thing which he chooses, is only for his Creator and Lord.

Second Rule. The second, to set before me a man whom I have never seen nor known, and I1717    I is added, perhaps in St. Ignatius’ hand. desiring all his perfection, to consider what I would tell him to do and elect for the greater glory of God our Lord, and the greater perfection of his soul, and I, doing likewise, to keep the rule which I set for the other.

Third Rule. The third, to consider, as if I were at the point of death, the form and measure which I would then want to have kept in the way of the present election, and regulating myself by that election, let me make my decision in everything.

Fourth Rule. The fourth, looking and considering how I shall find myself on the Day of Judgment, to think how I would then want to have1818    To have is apparently in St. Ignatius’ hand. deliberated about the present matter, and to take now the rule which I would then wish to have kept, in order that I may then find myself in entire pleasure and joy.

Note. The above-mentioned rules for my eternal salvation and peace having been taken, I will make my election and offering to God our Lord, conformably to the sixth Point of the First Way of making election.

TO AMEND AND REFORM ONE’S OWN LIFE

AND STATE

It is to be noted that as to those who are settled in ecclesiastical office or in matrimony—whether they abound much or not in temporal goods—when they have no opportunity or have not a very prompt will to make election about the things which fall under an election that can be changed, it is very helpful, in place of making election, to give them a form and way to amend and reform each his own life and state. That is, putting his creation, life and state for the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of his own soul, to come and arrive at this end, he ought to consider much and ponder through the Exercises and Ways of Election, as has been explained, how large a house and household he ought to keep, how he ought to rule and govern it, how he ought to teach and instruct it by word and by example; likewise of his means, how much he ought to take for his household and house; and how much to dispense to the poor and to other pious objects, not wanting nor seeking any other thing except in all and through all the greater praise and glory of God our Lord.

For let each one think that he will benefit himself in all spiritual things in proportion as he goes out of his self-love, will and interest.

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