Ignatius practised self-examination as strictly as he enjoined it. He once asked a Father, how often he had examined himself that day? The Father answered ‘ seven times.’ ‘Only seven times !’ said Ignatius, and yet it was not much past noon. At mid-day and at night he made what he called ‘particular examination,’ which referred to some besetting fault. He kept a string, on which he tied a knot as often as he fell into this fault; it is said that he did this up to a few hours before his death.
A Father asked him how to obtain perfect humility. ‘This is the way,’ said Ignatius; ‘do exactly the opposite of what is done by men of the world—hate what they seek, and seek what they avoid.‘ Ignatius gave large instructions on this subject to novices; he impressed on them that ‘humility is truth.’
He had absorbed this, so to speak, so thoroughly into his mind, that he said he feared vainglory less than any other sin. But charity, the love of God, and of man, for God’s sake, was his passion, that which engrossed his whole soul atid stamped his character. All his instructions ended with these words, many times repeated—’ Love God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your will.‘ He said if he could go to hell without a sin of his own, he should suffer more from the evil tongues of the damned, blaspheming God, than from the torments of hell fires. And he thought that to endure affliction for Christ’s sake was the greatest safety and the highest privilege that a Christian could desire.
He said, ‘If God sends you great sufferings, it is a sign He will make you a great saint; and if you wish Him to make you a great saint, pray that He may send you great sufferings.’ ‘All the honey which can be extracted from worldly pleasures is not so sweet as the gall and vinegar of Christ.’
And he told Ribadeneira one day, with joy, that our Saviour had granted him a favour long asked, that the heritage of the Passion should never fail the Society.
Link (here) to read the original passage in the book, Ignatius Loyola and the early Jesuits.
PS. This is a totally without permission posting. I love this blog. It rocks… Nothing in the above post is my writing.