Juan Luis Vives was born on March 6, 1492 in Valencia and was baptized a Christian. Both his parents were from Jewish families and had been forced to convert to Christianity. His mother became a Christian in 1491 and died in the plague of 1508. His father was investigated by the Inquisition for two years and was burned at the stake on September 6, 1524. Juan Luis attended the University of Valencia in 1508, and he admired the humanist Antonio de Nebrija who was persecuted for wanting to publish a grammar on the Bible and wrote an eloquent defense. Vives knew enough Latin and Greek grammar in 1509 to get into the University of Paris where he studied philosophy at the College of Montaigu for three years.
In 1512 Vives moved to Bruges. He was influenced by the pious Devotio Moderna and in 1514 wrote his first book, Christi Jesu Tiumphus, a dialog that criticized wars and considered heroism victory over sin. He met Erasmus in 1516 and moved on to the University of Louvain in 1517 where he became life-long friends with the humanist Guillaume Budé. Vives for four years tutored young Guillermo de Croy who was appointed Archbishop of Toledo but died in May 1521. In 1519 Vives wrote Adversus Pseudodialecticos to show that logic is not sufficient by itself. He helped get the Trilingue College accepted and was given a license for public lecturing in March 1520 even though he never completed his master’s degree.
Vives had several English students at Louvain, and Thomas More helped him get a royal pension from England’s Queen Catherine of Aragon. In 1520 Vives wrote In Leges Ciceronis and recommended the virtues of justice, temperance, courage, love, peace, concord, and faith. He offered to help Erasmus with the publication of the works of Augustine, and on July 7, 1522 his commentaries on Augustine’s City of God were dedicated to Henry VIII. He noted that kingdoms without justice are like stolen goods, and war needs to be abolished. He criticized the baptism of infants, monks who become “rich beggars,” and theological speculations such as the Immaculate Conception that add little to religion but words. He considered all wars impious, and he believed that pagans could attain glory by keeping the perfect love of God and one’s neighbor. Love is the perfection of all laws. His book on the City of God was forbidden by the Jesuits and condemned by theologians at Louvain in 1546 and by Pope Paul IV in 1559.
On October 12, 1522 Vives wrote a letter to Pope Adrian VI on the tumult provoked by Luther and warned that war between Christians is fratricide. He noted that the Lutheran controversy stopped the publication of ancient books in Germany. On April 5, 1523 Vives dedicated his book On the Education of Christian Women to Queen Catherine for the instruction of her daughter Mary, and it was published in January 1524. The three parts discuss the education of girls and young women before marriage, the duties of wives and mothers, and the situation of widows. He warned that Arthurian romances are filled with lies. While his father was being investigated in Valencia, Vives went to England on May 12, 1523. In August he was given Cardinal Wolsey’s readership, and Bishop John Fisher hired Vives to teach at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. During Catherine’s visit to Oxford he dedicated De Ratione studii to the Queen to help her plan lessons for her 7-year-old daughter Mary, and he tutored the girl for several years. Vives wrote De Consultatione on the diplomatic settlement of disputes at the request of Charles V’s imperial ambassador to England, Louis of Praet from Flanders.
Vives emphasized the importance of morality in education because “learning without morality is harmful and indecent.” He warned against letting a lusty young man read works by Ovid. He recommended Christian poets such as Prudentius and Sidonius as well as Roman Stoics. Vives proposed a center of education in every city where teachers could be paid from the public treasury with teachers and senior citizens in charge of civil education. He admired the way the Protestant Melanchthon organized education in Germany.
Vives considered justice and language the “pivots of human partnership for the “profound intuition of human nature.” Words can arouse emotions or reason directed by language. He advised studying nature first and later the history of arts and inventions. Students can visit workshops and factories to learn from artisans as the Lily College of Louvain offers. The study of mathematics can be applied to optics, architecture, and music. Learning botany and anatomy improves the study of medicine. Schools should also provide a proper diet and insist on cleanliness of the body. He advised moderate exercise including ball games and races.
Vives aimed to develop imagination and memory. He warned against using violent books of chivalry and erotic literature such as Homer, Ovid, Aristophanes, Plautus, Terence, Catullus, Propertius, and Martial as well as modern writings by Boccaccio and Politian. Vives advised that memory can be developed by having students memorize something each day. He recommended using notebooks, files, dossiers, catalogs, and other devices so that students can record and store their knowledge. He warned against having too many disputations as medieval scholastics did. They must not become too emotional in a debate. Vives believed that corporal punishment should only be used very rarely as a last resort and in moderation. He felt fear breeds hatred of the teacher and makes the child worse. Students learn their own language and other things by imitation, and teachers should present a good example of temperament.
Like many humanists, Vives believed in the equality of men and women, and he helped Thomas More educate his daughters. Yet Vives was patriarchal in that he expected women to stay at home or be silent and modest in public. He warned that women are more vulnerable physically and morally. They are as rational as men but have a changeable disposition and need more supervision. He recommended the moral writings of Plato, Cicero, Seneca, and Plutarch.
Vives married Margaret Valdaura of Bruges on May 26, 1524, but they had no children. That year he wrote the popular Introductio ad Sapientum (Introduction to Wisdom), and more than a hundred editions appeared in Latin and other languages by 1600. He considered war robbery without punishment that advances some men to honor but is the madness of foolish people. He urged settling conflicts by conciliation, compromise, and mutual agreement instead of violence. He collected moral axioms in Satellitium animi which he dedicated to Princess Mary. Vives found much wisdom in the ancient Academics (Plato and Aristotle) and Stoics, but he believed that the teachings of the Christ are the highest morality and recommended praying with devotion. He wrote that even the Turks should be loved, though he was concerned about the impinging Ottoman Empire. He also published letters he wrote to Pope Adrian VII and Henry VIII. Vives left Oxford in May 1525 and went back to Bruges.
In 1526 Vives dedicated his social work, De Subventione Pauperum (On the Relief of the Poor), to the magistrates of Bruges to recognize their program of poverty relief. He showed the relationship between poverty and the folly of war and reminded the municipal authorities that they are responsible for educating poor children, orphans, and the “illegitimate.” They should be taught practical skills. Relieving poverty is the best way to prevent social disorders, spreading diseases, and the corruption of public morality. Vives believed that “everything we have was given to us by God for the sake of others,” and we are the administrators of those goods. No one should ignore those who have nothing, and the first welfare measure should be to make sure that everyone able to work has a job. He reminded the clergy that church money should be used to alleviate social misery. Europe could be unified by tolerance and mutual respect.
In late 1526 Vives wrote about how Europe was divided and needed to unite to face the threat of invasion by the Turks, but greed in high places has been producing wars. The character Tiresias considers Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Pompey to have been thieves on a large scale.
In October 1527 Vives went to England again and opposed Henry VIII’s divorce of Catherine. He was put under house arrest for 38 days before leaving England on April 4, 1528 to return to the Netherlands. There Vives wrote De officio mariti (On the Duties of the Husband). In 1529 he lost his pension from Queen Catherine, and in July he published De Concordia et Discordia Generis Humani (On the Concord and Discord of the Human Race) and dedicated it to Emperor Charles V. The political authority of kings and nations is protected by treaties with horrible conditions, and he noted that wars are man-made evils that humans could prevent. Tyrants call avarice generosity and warriors virtuous when they are actually thieves. He advised Charles that peace is possible and that it is not contrary to human nature. He described the achievement of uniting Europe and the martyrdoms Christians should expect living under Turkish tyranny.
A few weeks later Vives sent his essay “On Peacemaking” (De Pacificatione) to Archbishop Alfonso Manrique of Seville who was also Spain’s General Inquisitor. Vives believed in the social morality of private property and the civic obligation of welfare for the poor, and he opposed the injustice of war. Morality begins with the family and then expands to civil society with the principles of tolerance, freedom, and democracy. He criticized the senseless rivalry between France’s François I and Charles V that caused so much suffering. Vives believed that man was never before more hated than he was in Europe during his time. They are divided by nations and religion and by conflicts between the nobility and the people. Fields have been abandoned and dwellings destroyed. Food is scarce or expensive. Education is neglected, and morality is poisoned as human judgment has been subverted. In De conditione vitae Christianorum sub Turca he warned against invasion by the Turkish empire. Yet he criticized the absurdity of war as a way of trying to resolve conflicts. After the Turks defeated Christians in eastern Europe in 1529, Vives wrote a letter to Henry VIII on January 13, 1531 pleading that he not plunge England into a war against Emperor Charles V.
In 1531 Vives also published his comprehensive treatise On Education (De Disciplinis), which was dedicated to Joao III of Portugal. He argued that human nature is good but finite and can improve over time. Humans learn by actions and mistakes. Truth is accessible to everyone, and culture is never finished. People will eventually find the authentic disciplines by observing nature. He devoted three chapters to the study of history—its corruption, common abuses, and ways of reforming the writing of history. Whoever longs for knowledge is ready to learn from anyone. No book is so good as not to need correction, and even the bad ones include some truth. In addition to reasoning, Vives was one of the first scholars to emphasize sense perception, memory, imagination, and judgment as essential skills to develop. Attention brings about memory, and we pay attention to what interests us. A teacher can aid memorization by organizing the subject matter. Mothers may teach their children letters, read edifying stories to them to help them learn their native language, and lay the groundwork for morals. Vives praised a mother who learned Latin and Greek so that she could help her boys with their home study.
Vives noted that Socrates was the first to study morals, beginning a new era. Plato and Aristotle made enormous contributions but still had weak points. He criticized Quintilian for limiting human wisdom to the precepts of rhetoric. Vives predicted that the future of reform would be through education inspired by the achievements of the ancients. In the first eight years Vives recommended the study of Latin and then Greek. A university course in the arts would take about ten years and emphasized the study of nature, philosophy, and rhetoric. The third and final stage of education is learning the history of the arts and then a profession such as medicine or jurisprudence which includes history and moral philosophy. Humans are moral beings, and the divine should be the model for everyone. Vives believed the soul should control the lower passions with reason to achieve virtue, the fundamental condition of true humanity. Equality is universal and is the soul and strength of laws. The legislator must have prudence to control the lower passions. Their first concern should be the moral education of children. Laws should be clear and precise and not so complicated that they cannot be remembered nor understood.
After Henry VIII and Catherine stopped supporting his work, Vives needed an income. By 1532 Charles V was sending him 150 ducats regularly. In 1534 he wrote his last letter to Erasmus on the persecution of Juan de Vergara, Juan Tovar, Thomas More, and John Fisher, commenting, “These are times when to keep silence is as dangerous as to speak out.”1 Vives wrote Spiritual Exercises for the Mind (Exercitationes animi in Deum) in 1535. After Erasmus died in July 1536, the Spanish Inquisition persecuted his disciples. In 1538 Vives published An Appraisal of the Works of Aristotle and Exercises in the Latin Language as a Latin textbook.
Also in 1538 Vives wrote On the Soul and Life (De Anima et Vita) in a pioneering effort on human psychology. The soul remembers, reasons, and judges like God and makes humans superior to brutes. Spiritual tranquility is found in inner silence as well as in sweet music and harmony. Judgment assigns the proper value to each thing. Vives followed the example of Socrates who made self-knowledge the first step in moral philosophy. In the third part Vives explained that emotions come from the movement toward the good through love, favor, respect, mercy, pleasure, laughter, desire, and hope or movement away from evil through hatred, envy, jealousy, indignation, cruelty, pride, sadness, tears, fear, shame, and audacity.
Vives died in Bruges on May 6, 1540. His last book De veritate fidei Christiana (On the Truth of the Christian Faith) was published after his death in 1543 and was dedicated to Pope Paul III. This used a dialog to compare Christianity with Judaism and Islam.
Francisco de Vitoria was born about 1492 in the Spanish city of Vitoria, and he became a Dominican about 1506. He studied theology for ten years at the University of Paris and taught it there for six years. After teaching for three years at Valladolid, in 1526 he won the chair of theology at the University of Salamanca, where he lectured for the rest of his life. While Spain was at the height of its empire, he contributed much to moderating the violence of its conquests by raising concerns for international justice. After learning of the violence in the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1536, Vitoria lectured on the Indies for the rights of the natives in January 1539. Charles V complained about the Dominican friar, but in 1542 new laws put the natives under the protection of the crown. Vitoria’s lecture notes on the American Indians and the laws of war were collected and published after he died in 1546. Vitoria’s ideas were made more popular by his disciple Domingo de Soto in his De iustitia et iure, which was first printed in 1553 and became the standard manual of rights and justice. Because of his early discussions on the principles of international law and the laws of war, Vitoria is now generally recognized by scholars as the founder of modern international law which he described in his On Civil Power (De Potestate Civili), 21 as follows:
International law has not only the force of a pact
and agreement among men, but also the force of a law;
for the world as a whole, being in a way one single State,
has the power to create laws that are just
and fitting for all persons, as are the rules of international law.
Consequently, it is clear that
they who violate these international rules,
whether in peace or in war, commit a mortal sin;
moreover, in the gravest matters,
such as the inviolability of ambassadors,
it is not permissible for one country
to refuse to be bound by international law,
the latter having been established
by the authority of the whole world.
Vitoria began with the premise that God has ordained certain principles for all by natural law (ius naturae) which was defined by Thomas Aquinas as “participation in the eternal law by rational creatures.” These include not stealing, not killing an innocent person, and not doing to anyone what we would not let others do to us. The justice of natural law, which he considered necessary, he contrasted with the laws made by human will, which he called human law, civil law, or positive law. Vitoria observed that human societies are established to help bear each other’s burdens. He noted that a community is needed for mutual assistance because a single family does not suffice, especially in regard to resisting violence. A perfect state is complete and whole and thus is not subject to any outside force. States, he believed, have the authority or right to use public power by governing in order to protect and preserve people. Vitoria believed that individuals would be torn apart if there were not a providential force, a state, to consider the common good and provide for the general welfare. A prince or good rulers should subordinate both peace and war to the common good of all, but a tyrant directs the government toward his individual good. Thus the government is not legitimate unless a majority agrees with the exercise of power.
Vitoria suggested that the law of nations (ius gentium) derives from natural law and confers rights and obligations. The world as a whole has the power to create international laws that are just for all persons, and no country should be permitted to refuse to be bound by international law that has been so established. He believed that any war that is advantageous to one nation but is injurious to the world is unjust. Vitoria rejected Spain’s imperial claims because all people are free by natural law. He argued that the Indians were in peaceable possession of their goods and must be treated as their rightful owners, and unbelief does not prevent anyone from being a true owner. Therefore Christians should not despoil their property. He declared that the Emperor is not the lord of the whole world, and the Pope has no authority over non-believers. Thus war could not be waged against Indians because they did not acknowledge the Pope’s claims. Although the Pope is not a temporal lord, he may judge between Christian princes in conflict.
Vitoria argued that Spaniards have the right to travel and live in other lands as long as they do not harm the natives because friendship is part of natural law. Vitoria also held that running water and the sea are common to all by natural law, and so ships have the right to use them. Also it is the right of nations to trade as long as they do not hurt citizens. Spaniards do not have the right to prevent the French from trading. Christians have no right to take things from Jews or Muslims or unbelievers; but to do so is robbery, just as if they were taken from Christians. Vitoria argued that native princes may not hinder their subjects from trading with Spaniards, nor may Spanish princes prevent commerce with natives.
Vitoria believed that children of Spaniards ought to be allowed to become citizens, provided they submit to the legal burdens. Spanish missionaries have the right to preach the Gospel, and it is wrong to hinder them or to punish the converted. He advised that massacres and spoliation tended to hinder conversion. War should not be used to induce belief, for such belief is usually feigned and is a sacrilege. Vitoria did argue that Spanish sovereigns might send governors for those natives who could clearly be benefited by that; but it must be for their welfare and not for the profit of the Spaniards. They do have the right to stop human sacrifices and cannibalism in order to protect innocent people. The consent of all is not required, but a majority is sufficient. Yet the choice must be made without fear and ignorance.
Vitoria lectured “On the Law of War” on June 19, 1539. In On Civil Power 13 he established the principle “that no war is legitimate if it is shown to be more harmful than useful to the commonwealth.” Yet he argued that defensive war may be used to repel force and that offensive war may even be employed to repossess property or avenge a wrong suffered. However, he noted that Jesus taught not to resist evil (Matthew 5:39) and warned that those who live by the sword will die by it (Matthew 26:52). Vitoria reasoned that oppressors, robbers, and plunderers should not be allowed to commit their crimes with impunity without others having the right to retaliate. Thus he believed rulers can punish enemies just as they can criminals in their own jurisdiction.
So Vitoria granted every state the authority to declare and make war in order to defend the common good. He listed four justifiable purposes for war as self-defense and defense of property, recovering things taken, avenging a wrong, and to secure peace and security. Yet he explicitly stated three reasons that cannot be a cause of just war as 1) difference of religion, 2) enlargement of empire, and 3) personal glory or convenience of the prince. Only a serious wrong when harm had been inflicted is a just cause for war, and the degree of punishment should correspond to the measure of the offense. Anything doubtful makes it not a just war; otherwise there would be many wars with both sides claiming they are just. Vitoria also believed that if a subject believes the war is unjust, “he must not fight even if he is ordered to do so by the prince.”2 He also argued, “If one of the two claimants is willing to negotiate a division of the territory or compensation for part of it, then the other prince must accept the negotiation, even when he is stronger and has the power to take the whole territory by force of arms.”3
A careful examination must be made of the justice of the causes, and the ruler’s council and other governors should be consulted. Vitoria taught, “Subjects whose conscience is against the justice of a war may not engage in it.”4 However, later Vitoria stated that subjects are bound to follow their ruler in a defensive war or an offensive war that is justified because they should not betray their state to the enemy. In the doubtful cases the benefit should go to the party already in possession. Those in doubt as to their claim should examine carefully and give a quiet hearing to arguments of the other side. Vitoria argued that a war cannot be just on both sides, and it is unlawful to fight against the just side. Vitoria also stated, “The deliberate slaughter of the innocent is never lawful in itself.”5 He did acknowledge that collateral damage could occur in a just war, and some innocent people may be killed, such as when a city is stormed, for example.
Vitoria argued against the killing of guilty people because of the expectation they may cause danger in the future. Arms, ships, and engines of war may be taken from the innocent to prevent the enemy from using them, but agriculture should not be despoiled. Foreigners and guests of the enemy should not be killed unless they are obviously at fault. Hostages should not be killed. Vitoria allowed reparations from the enemy for damages wrongfully caused, but they must be in proportion to the wrong. Vengeance for wrongs should be conducted with due regard for equity and humanity. Only in rare cases is it justified to overthrow the enemy’s sovereignty and depose the ruler. Finally, in victory Vitoria recommended moderation and Christian humility.
Although some of Vitoria’s points are debatable, he clearly set up many useful standards for limiting and regulating the massive violence that was occurring in his time. He helped to bring some reforms to the ruthless Spanish policies of the conquistadors; but he also justified their interventions more than the humanitarian efforts and writings of Bartolomé de Las Casas.
Iñigo Lopez de Loyola was born in 1491 in the Basque region of northern Spain, the youngest of eleven children. His mother died before he was seven. After the death of his father when he was fourteen, Iñigo lived with Fernando of Aragon’s chief treasurer Juan Vasquez de Cuéllar at Arévalo and served as a page. He liked stories of chivalry, games, women, and dueling with weapons.
In 1509 the young man began military service under Duke Antonio de Lara of Najera, the Viceroy of Navarre. In 1520 Iñigo fought for the recapture of Najera and would not give up his share of the booty. During the Comuneros revolt the French invaded Navarre, and at Pamplona on May 20, 1521 Iñigo had his right leg seriously wounded by a cannonball. While recuperating at the Loyola castle Ignatius (his Latin name) read the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony and about saints in The Golden Legend by Jacopo de Voragine, both in Castilian translations. After three operations to set his broken bones, Ignatius went to the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia. There he read L’Exercitatoire de la vie spirituelle by the abbot Garcia de Cisneros, nephew of Cardinal Ximenes. During a night-long vigil by the famous statue of the Black Madonna on March 24-25, 1522 he laid down his sword and dagger and took up the staff of a pilgrim and put on beggar’s clothing. While at Manresa for eleven months he began reading daily The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis and turned to prayer, fasting, and other austerities. In the next two years Ignatius worked on writing his Spiritual Exercises.
Ignatius set out on a pilgrimage and visited Venice before reaching Jerusalem in the fall of 1523. The next year he went back to school with younger students at Barcelona to learn Latin grammar. After two years he moved on to the University of Alcala with four companions. He was accused of being an enlightened one (alumbrado) and was imprisoned for six weeks by the Inquisition of Toledo before he was found innocent. Archbishop Fonseca of Toledo persuaded him to go to the University of Salamanca, and he went there with the other four in June 1527. Dominicans detained him for two weeks because they believed he held the views of Erasmus. Ignatius was working on his manuscript of the Spiritual Exercises, and they questioned him about the “discernment of spirits” before acquitting him.
The group disbanded, and in February 1528 Ignatius reached Paris where he studied Latin at the College of Montaigu. In October 1530 he enrolled in the faculty of arts. He earned his licenciate in arts in March 1533 and his master’s degree in Paris by April 1534. Francisco Xavier had come to Paris in 1525 and studied there for eleven years and became a lecturer in philosophy. Several times Ignatius rescued Xavier from poverty.
Ignatius had influenced his boyhood friend Pierre Favre who was ordained a priest in July 1534. At Montmartre on August 15 Ignatius, Favre, and Xavier with four others dedicated themselves to a life of poverty and ministering and decided to go to Jerusalem. The first group who earned their masters of arts at the University of Paris also included Diego Laynez, Claude Jay, Paschase Brouet, Alfonso Sameron, Simao Rodrigues, Jean Codure, and Nicolas Bobadilla. In 1535 Ignatius visited his homeland and initiated ways of relieving the poor there. Then he traveled to Venice, and the others joined him there in January 1537. During the winter two groups of five worked serving the poor, and in the spring they visited Rome to receive Pope Paul III’s blessing. He questioned them and gave them priestly powers and permission to go to Palestine.
They returned to Venice where Ignatius, Xavier, and four others were ordained priests on June 24. They visited towns in twos and threes praying and preaching in the streets and living on alms. In September they joined Ignatius at Vicenza, and in October they worked in a hospital in Bologna. They called themselves the Company of Jesus (Compañia de Jesu), and in Latin this became the Societas, the Society of Jesus. Ignatius insisted on using the name “Jesus.” They went in twos to the universities at Padua, Bologna, Ferrara, and Siena while Ignatius went with Diego Laynez and Favre to Rome. Ignatius had a vision near Rome of Jesus carrying a cross next to God the Father who said he wanted him to be the servant of Jesus. Pope Paul III appointed Favre and Laynez to lecture on theology at the University of Rome, and they were reunited again in April 1538.
Ignatius guided people with his Spiritual Exercises. The exercises in this book are organized into four weeks of contemplating sin and the life of Jesus followed by two weeks on rules. In the first week one is to consider and contemplate one’s sins. In the second the life of Jesus is examined up to Palm Sunday. The third week studies the passion of Jesus during his last week, and the fourth is on his resurrection and ascension. The purpose of the exercises is to help one conquer oneself and regulate one’s life so that one will not be influenced by attachments. The exercises are based on the principle that people are “created to praise, reverence, and serve God.” Each person is to examine one’s conscience every day, pray, and do penance for one’s sins. The seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride) are to be replaced by the seven virtues (chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility). Studying and reflecting on the accounts and teachings of the four Gospels make up the exercises of the next three weeks. Humility is recommended, and one should avoid eating too much, especially delicacies. The fourth week emphasizes the contemplation of divine love and prayer. The “Rules for Discerning Spirits” take up two weeks. The purpose of discernment is to accept the good and reject the bad. Spiritual consolation is sought, but desolation may be caused by disturbances. During the latter one should not change earlier resolutions but consider the Lord. In the second week of rules one may contemplate how God and the angels bring true happiness. Rules are also given for distributing alms, for discerning scruples, and for thinking about the Church. In the Appendix to the Spiritual Exercises are pertinent passages from the Gospels.
In November the companions of Ignatius offered their obedience to the Pope. Spaniards heard rumors that they were heretics, but once again Ignatius obtained a declaration of innocence in late 1538. He would spend the rest of his life in Rome. During that winter of plague, floods, and famine he and his companions procured food, clothing, and lodging for hundreds of people. After a series of meetings in the spring to discuss how they would make decisions, Ignatius issued the Formula of the Institute ofthe Society of Jesus in five chapters on June 24, 1539. Each candidate must want to “fight under the standard of Christ” and “devote himself only to God and to his Vicar on earth.” The Superior General will have the authority to make constitutions to implement the work proposed by the group. Those in the Society must obey the Pope and the Superior, and they all must take “a vow of perpetual poverty.”
Pope Paul III confirmed the Society of Jesus in his Regimini militantis ecclesiae on September 27, 1540, naming ten companions from Paris in the bull. In March 1541 the companions designated Ignatius and Jean Codure to write the Constitutions, but Cordure died on August 29. In April they elected Ignatius their superior general. He proposed sending Xavier to India while Simao Rodrigues stayed in Lisbon, and King Joao III approved. The Pope appointed Xavier apostolic nuncio to the East, and he became their first missionary and left Lisbon on April 7, 1541 with two others. Ignatius sent the first group of students to Paris that spring and another group in the fall.
In 1542 Andrea Lippomini was to start their first college in Italy at Padua. Favre went to Germany, and Nicholas Bobadilla visited Innsbruck and Vienna. Jeronimo Doménech started their college in Louvain. Ignatius began working on the constitutions at Rome in 1544 and emphasized the poverty of the houses in his Spiritual Diary. That year they were first called Jesuits by Calvin and other critics. Favre returned to Cologne, and then Ignatius sent him to Coimbra in Portugal. Their rector Diego Moron left Coimbra to found their first college in Spain at Valencia. In 1545 Laynez and Alonzo Salmeron participated in the Council of Trent. By then the Society had sixty scholars at Coimbra, and Rodriguez created “rules of offices.” In 1546 the college of Bologna was strengthened. The province of Portugal was established, and Rodrigues sent ten companions to India. In March 1547 Juan de Polanco became Secretary of the Society, and four companions met with the seventh session of the Council of Trent at Bologna. On November 4 a papal bull authorized the University of Gandia.
The Spiritual Exercises were approved by Pope Paul III and were printed in 1548. Ten companions went to the academy of Messina on Sicily, and in 1549 Ignatius sent nine companions to start a college at Palermo; by 1550 there were thirty Jesuits in Messina and twenty at Palermo. Meanwhile Father de Nobrega led three missionaries to Brazil. Julius III was elected Pope on February 8, 1550, and on July 21 he confirmed the Society of Jesus. The first Spanish text of the Constitutions was completed. The Jesuits had 150 scholars living at Coimbra. In 1551 Ignatius planned several universities and sent more than 800 letters to companions outside Rome. He sent twelve companions to Florence and as many to Naples with Bobadilla, and Italy became a province.
Six more companions left Portugal for Goa in India. Father Viaz had led four companions in a mission to the Congo, but they had to withdraw because of the King. Eleven companions were sent to Vienna. By 1552 the Society had 325 students at the Roman college, and new colleges were founded at Perugia, Gubbio, and Modena. Ignatius sent Jeronimo Nadal to visit Jesuit houses in Sicily, Spain, and Portugal over two years to explain the Constitutions. In 1553 Jesuits and a few others remained in Perugia during a plague to minister to the sick. In 1554 Laynez helped companions start a college in Genoa. With two large colleges at Alcala and Salamanca and other houses Castile became a province. Cordoba was established in Andalucia. By then the fully operational provinces of the Society were India, Portugal, Castile, Aragon, Brazil, and Italy.
Ignatius in 1537 had criticized the community of Theatines co-founded by Gian Pietro Carafa. When Cardinal Carafa became Pope Paul IV on May 23, 1555, persecution of the Society of Jesus revived. Yet in February 1556 he granted the Roman college the right to confer degrees on its students. Ignatius died of Roman fever on July 31, 1556. By then there were 938 Jesuits—499 scholastics, 271 priests, and 168 lay brothers, and a hundred Jesuit colleges had been started. The number of Jesuits would increase to 4,088 in 1574 and to 8,272 in 1600.
Nadal went to Germany, Austria, and Italy in 1555 but returned to Rome and stayed there during the transitional period. Polanco began translating the Constitutions into Latin. Bobadilla told Pope Paul IV that Laynez, Polanco, and Nadal were trying to control the Congregation in order to exclude some of the original companions, and he said that Ignatius had been a tyrant. The Pope asked to see the Constitutions he had not yet ratified and said that he could change them. After Rodriguez and Brouet abandoned Bobadilla, Laynez persuaded the Pope to approve the convening of the Congregation. Laynez was acting as Vicar General, and the Jesuits of the Roman college met on August 10, 1557. The war between the Holy See and Spain was resolved on June 19, 1558, and the Society of Jesus elected Laynez general on July 2 with thirteen votes to four for Nadal. On September 10 the First General Congregation approved the Constitutions in Castilian and the Latin translation, and it appealed to those who desire to serve the Lord and the Church as a soldier of God after taking a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience. The Society of Jesus was to provide colleges for studies with fixed revenues.
Pope Paul IV demanded that the general’s term be for only three years instead of for life as stipulated by the Constitutions. When the Congregation refused to change the rules, Paul accused them of insubordination; but he died on August 18, 1559. In 1561 Laynez persuaded Pope Pius IV to abrogate his predecessor’s orders. Jesuits were also able to liberate their patron Cardinal Giovanni Morone who had been imprisoned by the Inquisition because Paul IV had believed that the spirituali were crypto-Lutherans.
In the papal Index of Prohibited Books in 1559 the entire works of Erasmus had been condemned, but the Jesuits got permission to read certain books including De octo partibus by Erasmus. Pope Pius IV moderated the Index in 1564. The Constitutions urged the Jesuits to be broad-minded, courageous, compassionate, energetic, and flexible rather than rigid. In late 1560 Laynez sent Nadal to Portugal and Spain, and he also promoted the Jesuit vocation in his visits to the Jesuit houses in France, the Low Countries, and Germany.
Miguel Serveto (Servetus in Latin) was born at Villanueva de Sijena in Aragon on September 29, 1509, the day of Saint Michael, and he came to believe that he was a warrior of the archangel Michael. His father was a lawyer and notary at a monastery, and his mother was descended from a wealthy Jewish converso family. Miguel was educated at a Dominican convent, and he learned Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. In 1526 he began studying law at the University of Toulouse. He served the Franciscan friar Juan de Quintana who became confessor to Charles V by 1530. Servetus also worked at the court and attended the Emperor’s coronation at Bologna in February 1530. The luxury displayed by Pope Clement VII made him angry, and Servetus became a reformer and met Johannes Oecolampadius at Basel in October and Martin Bucer at Strasbourg in May 1531. Two months later Servetus published On the Errors of the Trinity. He believed the Bible was infallible and often quoted the early fathers of the Church. In 1532 he published Dialogs on the Trinity and On the Justice of Christ’s Reign, rejecting Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone.
In 1533 Servetus studied geography at the College de Calvi in Paris, and he published the first French translation of Ptolemy’s Geography. He began studying medicine in 1536 and wrote treatises on pharmacology. Servetus also studied mathematics and astrology and predicted an occultation of Mars by the moon. After his teaching was suspended by the Dean of Medicine, Jean Tagault, he wrote against him his Apologetic Discourse of Michel de Villeneuve in Favor of Astrology and against a Certain Physician. He used the name Villeneuve for many years and was accused of teaching Cicero’s De Divinatione. Tagault advocated the death penalty, but Servetus only had to withdraw his edition of Cicero’s work. Villeneuve became a doctor of medicine at Montpelier in 1539. He discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood through the chambers of the heart and the lungs nearly a century before William Harvey gained acclaim for that. A jealous physician tried to assassinate him, and Servetus injured one of the assailants in the swordfight and was imprisoned for a few days. He became the personal physician of Archbishop Pierre Palmier of Vienne in southeast France, and he lived in Vienne for thirteen years.
Servetus was rebaptized at age thirty to follow the example of Jesus. He began annotating the Bible and published a new edition of the Latin Bible of Santes Pagnini in 1542. He corresponded with Jean Calvin and sent him a copy of his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion with copious notes. Calvin answered his questions; but on February 13, 1546 he wrote a letter to Frellon by his pseudonym Charles Despeville, and Frellon sent these by special messenger to Servetus. Calvin wrote that he was a dangerous heretic who deserved to die and that he would no longer answer his letters.
Servetus wrote most of his Restoration of Christianity (Christianismi Restitutio) in 1546, but he did not publish it until January 1553. He paid for the printing of one thousand copies. In this book he criticized the popes and the Protestants Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon as heretics, and he withheld his name from the title page. Included is a revised version of his Errors on the Trinity, three books on the kingdom of Christ, four books on the reign of the antichrist with sixty signs of the antichrist, thirty letters to Calvin he never answered, and an apology to Melanchthon. Servetus denied the orthodox dogma of the trinity from the Nicene Creed, the orthodox view of the Christ from the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, and infant baptism practiced by all except the Anabaptists. He argued that Jesus of Nazareth was a man who came to be the Messiah and the son of God. He advocated the unity of God and shows that this is also the belief of Jews and Muslims as written in the Talmud and the Qur’an. Servetus accepted the Platonic and Neo-Platonic view that distinguished an ideal, invisible, eternal world from the temporal, created, visible world. God is the Holy Spirit and is in all things. The human spirit is a spark of this Divine Spirit. God is all, and the ideal Christ is eternal.
Calvin called Servetus a Pelagian because he rejected predestination and the slavery of the will. Servetus believed that God and humans are free and that God’s grace works freely in people. He held that humans are justified by faith and good works. Love is greater than knowledge and faith because God is love. The person who loves is better than one who believes. Servetus disagreed with the Catholic view of transubstantiation as well as the literal view of Luther and the symbolic interpretation of Zwingli regarding the Lord’s supper. Servetus believed that the battle between Michael and the antichrist had already begun in heaven and on Earth.
Calvin and the Council of Geneva accused Servetus of denying the immortality of the soul, a capital crime, but Servetus believed that the mortal soul which deserves to die because of sin becomes immortal through the grace of the Christ. He believed that people will be resurrected in their thirtieth year. (Modern psychics have described the souls on the other side after death as appearing to be about thirty.)
On March 15, 1553 the civil court of Vienne summoned Villeneuve, but a search of his apartments found nothing incriminating. Calvin turned over some signed letters from Villeneuve and his notes to the Institutes to the Inquisitor Ory. The Cardinal of Lyons and Archbishop of Vienne ordered Villeneuve arrested on April 4, and under oath he denied being the heretic Servetus. Two days later he admitted that he wrote confidential letters to Calvin. On April 7 Servetus escaped from his jailer. The trial went on, and on June 17 he was burned in effigy with 500 copies of his book. Servetus spent three months in France and then went to Geneva. He attended church on August 13 and was arrested by order of the Council. Calvin admitted that he was responsible for his arrest, and he prosecuted the theological examination during the trial. He drew up 38 articles, and the trial began on August 15. The main charges related to heresy and blasphemy regarding the trinity, the person of Christ, and baptism. Servetus explained that he wrote to Calvin in order to show him his errors, and he never intended to injure him. He admitted believing that God is in all things. Calvin preached from the pulpit to counteract the Libertine party which opposed him.
After the original charges were discharged, the case was given to the attorney-general Claude Rigot who prepared an indictment in thirty articles. Servetus defended himself before the Council on August 24, and the next day he sent them a written petition demanding his release. He asked for counsel but was refused. He explained that he quoted from the Qur’an because it recognizes the glory of Christ. The Council asked Calvin to extract objectionable passages from the books of Servetus, and he found 38 articles. Servetus defended himself on September 15 and complained about his miserable conditions in prison. He appealed to the Large Council of Two Hundred to no avail. He considered it madness to persecute to the death. On the 19th the Council sent the case to the Reformed Churches of Bern, Zurich, Schaffhausen, and Basel for their judgment. On the 22nd Servetus asked the Council to indict Calvin, and he handed them articles, but this was ignored. On October 18 a messenger brought the judgments of the four churches against Servetus, but none of them proposed the death penalty. Eight days later the Council unanimously condemned Servetus to be burned at the stake, and Calvin’s request to substitute the sword for the fire was rejected. On October 27 Servetus was tied to a stake and burned. His last words were, “Jesus Christ, thou Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me!”
Calvin published a defense of the death penalty, and this was answered by the pseudonymous Martinus Bellius and by Sebastian Castellio who observed that persecution replaces open heretics with Christian hypocrites and that it provokes counter-persecution. Theodore Beza then wrote in defense of Calvin in 1554.
Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada was born at Avila on March 28, 1515. Her mother taught her devotion to the Virgin Mary. Her father was poor and refused to own a slave and treated his sister’s slave with respect. He read holy books, and Teresa liked to read about the saints; but she also enjoyed books about chivalry and wrote that they had a bad effect on her. When her mother died in 1529, Teresa begged Mary to be her mother. Teresa liked books and read the letters of Saint Jerome, and an early influence was the Third Spiritual Alphabet by the Franciscan Francisco de Osuna.
In 1531 Teresa was sent to a boarding school of Augustinian sisters and remained there eighteen months. On November 2, 1536 she became a Carmelite nun. One year later she became seriously ill and was partially paralyzed for nearly three years, and she was completely helpless for eight months. During her illness she prayed much, and her conscience was more awake. Her conscientious father died a holy death in 1543, and the example of his honest and good life had a great influence on her. Yet the monastery allowed her considerable liberty, and she prayed little. She believed the open convent did her harm with its temptations, and later she wrote that she was deceived about her sins for seventeen years. She prayed to St. Joseph and believed these prayers were answered because he had the role of father in raising Jesus. When her prayer was wrong, he corrected it for her greater good. She was distracted by conversations with people and went more than a year without praying. In 1555 Teresa read Augustine’s Confessions, and an awakening led to a more spiritual period of hearing interior voices and seeing visions. In 1556 she began to meet Jesuits at their college in Avila. By 1560 she had experienced her first rapture. Gaspar de Salazar came to Avila in April 1561, and the first convent there was purchased in August and consecrated in 1562.
In June 1562 Teresa completed the first draft of her life story commanded by her confessor Ibañez. Pope Pius IV authorized the first convent of the Carmelite reform, and on August 24 she and some friends founded the Carmelite convent of St. Joseph; she moved there the next year. The revision of her Life (Vida) commanded by her confessor was completed by early 1566, and she began passing around the manuscript. In her Life she advised readers to cultivate the friendship of those who practice prayer. Eventually she turned away from the things of the world and became devoted to God. She urged everyone to pray and described how beneficial it is. She warned against being distressed by disturbed or distracted thoughts. In humility she acknowledged that strength does not come from ourselves. She advised looking for the virtues and good qualities in others while being aware of our own sins and failings. Self-examination must never be neglected. The path of prayer also requires learning. The more spiritual one is, the greater is the need for learning.
Teresa used the analogy of watering a garden to describe the stages of prayer. The first stage of taming distraction by the senses involves much weeding and the laborious effort of carrying water from a well. In the second stage one becomes quiet and calm in meditation, and this is compared to using a water wheel. As the soul loses the desire for earthly things, one moves into the supernatural. In the third stage of prayer the mental faculties become wholly occupied with God. As the hindrances of memory and imagination are reduced, the virtues become stronger. The will dwells in the great peace while the understanding is freed to do works of charity. This is like using water from a flowing stream. In the fourth stage bliss and comfort accompany the soul during divine union. This raises the spirit with heavenly love like rain on the garden as the faculties are suspended. The ground may be dug by trials, persecution, distractions, and infirmities, but the result is detachment from self-interest. Beyond union is the rapture which comes from the Lord with inward and outward effects, giving one the strength to put the desire to serve God into effect. The mind dwells on real truth, and everything else seems childish. In ecstasy come revelations and visions which help to humble and strengthen the soul. After this Teresa found that she could only form firm friendships with those who love and serve God. She described some of her visions. Once in prayer she understood how all things are seen and contained in God.
Teresa considered the years 1562-67 the most restful years of her life. With the permission of her confessor Domingo Bañes she as prioress began writing The Way of Perfection (El Camino de la perfeccion) in early 1566 for thirteen nuns at St. Joseph’s. She noted at the start that she submitted everything in the book “to what is taught by Our Mother, the Holy Roman Church,” and she asked the learned men revising it to amend any faults. She argued against worrying about the needs of the body for food because living in poverty trusts the Lord to provide for them. To worry about getting money from other people causes one to think about what people enjoy, and this will not make them more willing to give alms. She believed that poverty contains all the good things in the world, and they should let their houses be small and poor in every way. She reminded her readers that the Lord always helps women and shows them compassion no less than men.
Their first rule is to pray without ceasing. The Lord and their Constitution directs them to love each other, be detached from all created things, and to live in true humility which she considers the most important. All the nuns should be friends and help each other. While loving the lord they should refrain from making individual friendships such as between relatives. They should not allow their will to be the slave of any save Jesus. Spiritual love is untainted by any passion, and they should treat everyone with moderation and discretion. They should not desire anyone’s affection because of some interest, profit, or pleasure. If they see a fault in a sister, they should commend her to God and practice the virtue that is the opposite of the fault. Being detached from oneself is humility and has interior and exterior benefits. Those who shun relatives to serve God will find truer friends that God sends to them. Prayer and charity enables them to be aware of each other’s needs. She taught that the true lover of God cares little for life and honor.
Not everyone is fit for contemplation, and some take longer to attain it. Teresa admitted that she spent fourteen years without being able to meditate except while reading. The Lord knows them better than they know themselves. Jesus taught that the soul thirsts, and she noted that water can cool things, clean things, and satisfy thirst. God is perfect and provides everything for our welfare. Prayer provides consolation. They should practice prayer with firm resolution and not be put off by difficulties. Both mental prayer and vocal prayer are beneficial. Teresa analyzed the value of the Lord’s prayer that begins with “Our Father who is in Heaven.” God is within us, and they should be there with Him. They should understand that they ask in prayer for the divine kingdom. The prayer of quiet leads to a supernatural state in which the Lord gives the soul peace. They pray for God’s will to be done on earth as in Heaven. They ask for forgiveness and not to be led into temptation so that they will avoid venial sins.
In 1567 Teresa met the young Carmelite priest Juan de Yepes who later took the name Juan de la Cruz. In February the Carmelite Prior General Juan Baptist Rubeo (Rossi) visited Castile and approved Teresa’s project to reform the Carmelite Order for Discalced (Unshod) nuns following the practice of the Friars who either went barefoot or wore sandals. On August 15 she founded the convent at Medina del Campo, and during the fall she planned reforms with Juan de Yepes. In 1568 convents were founded at Malagon and Valladolid, in 1569 at Toledo and Pastrana, in 1570 at Salamanca, and in 1571 at Alba de Tormes. Teresa was elected prioress of the Convent of the Incarnation at Avila in October and served for three years. On November 18, 1572 she experienced spiritual marriage.
In 1573 Teresa began her account of her reform work in her Book of Foundations, and she corresponded with nuns in this order. In 1575 she founded convents at Beas and Seville, but in May the Calced Carmelites suppressed the Discalced houses founded without the General’s permission. During this time the manuscript of her Life was sent to the Inquisition, and it was later returned to her. The Carmelite general ordered her to go to a convent in Castile. Teresa wrote to King Felipe II on behalf of General Gracian and the reforms on July 19, 1575 and again on September 18, 1577. After a violent election for the Prioress of the Incarnation in October, nuns who had voted for Teresa were excommunicated. On December 3 Juan de Yepes was imprisoned at Toledo, and the next day Teresa complained to Felipe II.
The priest Jeronimo Gracian commanded Teresa of Avila to write another book on prayer in order to help the nuns in the Carmelite convents, and she wrote The Interior Castle (El Castillo interior) from June to November 1577. She had a vision of a crystal globe in the shape of a castle with seven sets of mansions with stronger light as one gets nearer the center. Because the soul is the castle, we are the castle. Many souls are in the outer court in the First Mansions with the guards because they are still in love with the world outside them. They need more discipline to make progress and may remain in the dim mansions of humility for a long time. The entry into the First Mansions is prayer and meditation. She urged them to learn to understand themselves so that they can remove the pitch that blackens the crystal. All good things we do come from the soul within us. The soul is spacious, ample, and lofty, and humility works like a bee making honey in a hive. By gaining self-knowledge the soul can soar in meditating on the greatness of God. As the self turns toward God, our understanding and will become nobler and ready to embrace all that is good; but if the soul looks for faults in others, it may lose its peace of mind and disturb that of others.
In the Second Mansions of The Interior Castle God calls souls by conversations with good people, sermons, reading good books, and many other ways. By trials and sickness God may teach them when they are engaged in prayer. The goal of prayer is to align one’s will with the will of God. By practicing prayer the souls move away from the poisonous distractions of the outer world.
In the Third Mansions the soul learns to fear God and understands oneself through tests. By discipline and penance the soul is increasing its virtues that provide prudence and discretion, but it has not yet experienced the inspiration of love and self-surrender.
In the Fourth Mansions one learns to discern the difference between the tenderness of prayer and consolations and between thought and understanding. Learning and knowledge are great helps in quiet prayer. One learns to love God without any selfish motive. In the prayer of recollection one goes beyond fear to love and experiences the supernatural. To those who are leaving the world God grants understanding. In spiritual activity one does most who thinks and desires least. One forgets one’s own profit and pleasure by honoring the glory of God.
In the Fifth Mansions the soul through prayer is united with God. One is transformed like the ugly silkworm into a white butterfly. By loving our neighbors we experience the greater love we have for God as God rewards those who love their neighbors. Love for our neighbors has its roots in God. We must continue to pray for God to guide us. This is the stage of spiritual betrothal.
In the Sixth Mansions the soul receives favors but also endures greater trial as the soul is called by God who gives instructions. The signs that something is coming from God are the sense of power and authority, the great peace, and the words remaining in the memory for a long time. God may suspend the soul in rapture or ecstasy, and courage is needed to receive favors from God who communicates to the soul through intellectual vision. With favors may come afflictions and challenges.
These may be escaped by moving into the Seventh Mansions where the soul and spirit become one. Spiritual marriage takes place, and connection to the body diminishes. The soul forgets the self as it is absorbed in seeking God. The soul becomes willing to suffer and is no longer disturbed by this. One experiences perfect peace that cannot be surpassed until the beatific vision in the life to come.
Teresa broke her left arm on December 24, 1577, and on March 31, 1580 she suffered a paralytic stroke. She managed to travel from Madrid to Segovia, Avila, Valladolid, and to found a convent at Palencia in December. In 1581 she founded a convent at Soria and then was elected prioress at St. Joseph’s in Avila in September. She traveled to Medina del Campo and Valladolid and founded convents at Granada in January 1582 and at Burgos in April. The Provincial sent her to visit the Duchess of Alba, and Teresa died at Alba de Tormes on October 4, 1582. A pleasant fragrance surrounded her uncorrupted body, and her old friend Father Gracian, who had declined to accompany her on a recent journey, initiated the stealing of her bones as sacred relics by cutting off a hand. In 1588 the Salamancan professor Fray Luis de Leon published her Life, some Relations, The Way of Perfection, Maxims, The Interior Castle, and Exclamations. Because living people were named in the Foundations, it was not published until 1610 at Brussels. Pope Clement VIII sanctioned the Discalced Carmelites in 1593. Cervantes and Lope de Vega urged the Pope to beatify Teresa, and in 1622 Pope Gregory XV canonized Ignatius of Loyola, Francisco Xavier, and Teresa of Avila as saints.
Juan de Yepes y Alvarez was born June 24, 1542 in Old Castile. His father was from a wealthy family of silk merchants, but he married a poor weaver and died soon after the birth of his third son Juan. The poor family moved to Medina del Campo. Juan was short and thin and went to the Catechism School and studied Spanish, Greek, Latin, and religion at the Jesuit College 1559-63 from the humanist Juan Bonifacio. In 1563 he joined the Carmelite Monastery of Santa Ana and changed his name to Juan de Santo Matia. From 1564 to 1568 he studied the arts and theology at the University of Salamanca and became a teaching prefect while still a student. In spring 1567 he was ordained a priest, and he met Teresa of Avila in September and accompanied her to Valladolid in August 1568. He decided to join her Discalced Carmelite Order and changed his name to Juan de la Cruz on November 28. He preached and heard confessions, and the community founded a house of studies in Alcala in 1570. In May 1572 Juan joined Prioress Teresa and 130 nuns at the Convent of the Incarnation as Vicar and confessor.
During the Carmelite strife Juan was imprisoned in Avila and Toledo from December 2, 1577 until he escaped on August 16, 1578. While in prison he wrote his “Spiritual Canticle.” His health was restored at El Calvario, and he was elected prior there in October. In June 1579 he founded and became rector of Baeza. He helped students and nuns obtain things they needed and often attended the ill. He consoled the sad and depressed and cheered them up with his humor. He moderated penances. Juan spent much time praying especially at night when he slept less than most. From 1579 to 1585 Juan wrote The Ascent of Mount Carmel and Dark Night commentaries on his “Dark Night” poem which I translated from the Spanish as:
On a dark night
Inflamed with yearnings of love—
O coming of delight!—
I went out without being noticed,
My house already being calm.
In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder disguised—
O coming of delight!—
In darkness and concealment,
My house already being calm.
On the happy night
In secret where no one saw me,
Nor did I look at anything,
With no other light or guide
Than the ardor in my heart.
This guided me and shone
More surely than the light of mid-day,
To where waited for me
One whom I knew well
In a place where no one else appeared.
O night that guides me!
O night more loving than the dawn!
O night that can unite
A lover with a beloved,
Transforming the lover in the beloved.
And on my flowering breast
Which I kept entirely for him alone,
There softly he slept,
And I caressed him
And the breath of the air from aromatic cedars.
The air from the castle wall,
When it already parted his hair
With his gentle hand
On my wounded neck,
And all my senses were suspended.
I abandoned and forgot myself,
Reclining my face upon the beloved,
All ended, and I went out of myself
Leaving my cares
Among the lilies forgotten.
In the Ascent of Mount Carmel Juan de la Cruz analyzed the cause of the night as the privation and mortification of appetites that torment, blind, and defile people. One must free oneself from all appetites to attain divine union. Faith is a dark night of the soul, but one may be guided through this to supreme contemplation. One must conform one’s will to God’s will in habits as well as in acts. One must deprive oneself of all that is not God in order to be united with God. Faith, hope, and charity perfect the faculties of the soul while producing emptiness and darkness in intellect, memory, and imagination. Spiritual persons move from discursive meditation to contemplation. One must avoid the harm of falling into self-esteem and vain presumption through imaginative apprehensions from the memory. The first passion of the soul and emotion of the will is joy. Temporal goods may cause joy that is harmful, and withdrawing from this joy is beneficial. Natural goods of beauty, elegance, and physical endowments can also be harmful, and the soul does not rejoice in those goods. The desire for sensory goods is harmful too. One may rejoice in moral goods but should avoid pride and vanity which cause harm. The will may rejoice in supernatural goods if they are directed to God. In devotions one may direct the joy and strength of the will to God. The commentary ends abruptly unfinished on the first line of the third stanza.
In The Dark Night Juan de la Cruz warned beginners against the seven sins of pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. He interpreted the symbolism of his “Dark Night” poem with long explanations. For example, the ten steps on the mystical ladder of divine love are to realize the soul is sick, to search for God unceasingly, to do good works, to suffer on behalf of the beloved, to long for God, to run swiftly toward God, to love God ardently, to take hold of the Beloved, to burn gently in God, and to assimilate the soul into God.
Juan also wrote a commentary on his poem, “The Living Flame of Love.” He advised precautions against the world by having equal love and forgetfulness of all persons, moderating appetites and temporal goods, and guarding against harms that arise in religious communities. In “Counsels to a religious on how to reach perfection” he recommended living in a monastery as if no one else were there, mortifying the appetites, practicing virtue and obedience to God, and living in solitude. In “Sayings of Light and Love” he urged loving discretion, light, and love. Purity of conscience is more pleasing to God than all the works one performs. The loving soul is gentle, humble, and patient. They are blessed who set aside their own inclinations and consider things according to reason and justice before doing them. The soul that journeys to God without shaking off cares and quieting appetites is like one who drags a cart uphill. God only reigns in the peaceful and disinterested soul. In “Maxims and Counsels” Juan described the twelve stars for reaching the highest perfection as love of God, love of neighbor, obedience, chastity, poverty, attendance at choir, penance, humility, mortification, prayer, silence, and peace. By seeking in reading one will find in meditation, and by knocking in prayer it will be opened in contemplation. He advised abandoning evil, doing good, and seeking peace.
Juan was the provincial vicar of Andalusia for a year and a half, then prior of Granada 1587-88 and Councilor General and Prior of Segovia for three years. He died on December 14, 1591. Pope Benedict XIII canonized him as a saint in 1726, and in 1926 Pope Pius XI declared him a doctor of the Church.
In the reaction against the chivalry of medieval literature were the picaresque novels of the Spanish renaissance. A “picaro” is a rascal, and the popular novella Lazarillo de Tormes probably influenced Cervantes. Three editions appeared in 1554 at Burgos, Alcala, and Antwerp, and a sequel was published the next year. Lazarillo was banned by the Inquisition in 1559, but by 1560 it had been translated into English, German, Latin, Italian, and Dutch. An expurgated version was published in 1573. The author is unknown; but some suggested the satirist and diplomat Diego Hurtado de Mendoza while others rejected this.
The prologue describes Lazarillo de Tormes as a “childish story,” and it is narrated by the poor boy Lazaro de Tormes. His father was a mule driver and was killed in a battle against the Moors. His mother took up with a Negro; but after he was caught embezzling oats, she gave her son to a blind beggar. Hungry Lazaro helped him beg and stole money and food to survive. After being punished for stealing, Lazaro left him in a crowd of people and went to Torrijos. A priest accepted him as a servant, but he ate only twice a day and fed him little. Lazaro became weak and ate crumbs while persuading his master that mice were eating them. When the master caught him with his key, he wounded the boy in the head.
Lazaro moved on to Toledo and begged from door to door, but he found that “charity had not only begun at home but stayed there too.”6 A gentleman offered him a job, but he was poor too. They occasionally attended funeral banquets. His master went a whole week without eating, and the starving Lazaro found himself hoping that people would die. Finally the man was evicted from his house for not paying rent and left the boy behind. His fourth employer was a friar from the Order of Mercy who gave him his first pair of shoes; but after a week of running around, Lazaro left him. He joined a pardoner who preached and sold papal indulgences; but very few people bought them, and he was accused of using forged documents. Eventually he gained some success and fed Lazaro with the priests’ money, but after four months Lazaro departed. He worked for an artist, and then a priest gave him a job with a donkey and jugs to carry water in the city. He did this for four years and saved money. Next he worked for a constable, and he was admitted into the Civil Service, becoming the town-crier. The Archpriest of San Salvador gave him a wife from his household who had been the priest’s mistress and bore him three children. Lazaro loved her anyway and said she was as good as any woman in Toledo. This novella portrays the desperate poverty that was so common in Spain in this era.
Doménikos Theotokopoulos was born in 1541 on Crete and used the name El Greco. He studied the art of mannerism in Rome from 1570 and moved to Toledo in 1577. King Felipe II did not like his Allegory of the Holy League nor his Martyrdom of St. Maurice and gave him no more commissions. During the Catholic Counter-Reformation artists were expected to emphasize content rather than style, but El Greco had his own style of elongated human figures that inspired people. He painted The Burial of the Count of Orgaz from 1586 to 1588. In heaven are depicted Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist with the poor in the background while on earth Augustine and Stephen are holding the body of the count accompanied by prominent citizens. From 1590 until his death in 1614 El Greco concentrated on religious paintings, landscapes, and portraits.
Miguel de Cervantes was baptized on October 9, 1547, probably ten days after his birth, in the university town of Alcala de Henares. Not until 1578 was he known to have added the name Saavedra to distinguish himself from a relative. His father Roderigo de Cervantes was a traveling physician and apothecary. Miguel was well acquainted with poverty through most of his life, and little is known of his youth. He probably served as a soldier in Flanders before being assigned to Italy. He began writing early and in 1568 was invited to submit verses for his school in Madrid upon the death of Queen Isabel. By December he was chamberlain in Rome for Cardinal Acquaviva. On September 15, 1569 an order from Madrid banished Myguel de Zerbantes for having wounded Antonio de Sigura. The recent Council of Trent had increased the punishment for dueling.
Cervantes fought in the famous battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 even though he had a fever. He commanded twelve men in a longboat and suffered two gunshots in the chest, and his left hand was shattered. For the rest of his life he considered this maiming a mark of honor. After serving in the garrison at Naples he participated in the attack on Tunis in October 1573. After five years of military service Miguel and his brother Roderigo embarked for Spain on September 20, 1575, but they were captured by Turks and taken in chains to Algiers. Miguel’s ransom was set at 500 ducats, and his family ransomed his brother Roderigo on August 24, 1577 with 105 others. Miguel was a slave but was not usually chained and could work on his writing. He tried to escape four times and helped fifteen Christians in 1577; but when they were caught, he took responsibility for the plot. Two years of drought caused a famine that took the lives of 5,656 poor Algerians in the first three months of 1580. The Cervantes family and Friar Juan Gil of the Trinitarians finally raised the money to free Miguel, and he sailed for Spain on October 24, 1580 and reached the court in December. In May 1581 Miguel was sent on royal business to Tomar in Portugal, Oran, and Cartagena. He traveled in Spain.
In 1582 Cervantes’ plays El Trato de Argel and La Numancia were successfully produced, but they were not published until the 18th century. The Siege of Numantia is set in 134 BC. Scipio commands a Roman army of 80,000 which has been besieging the Spanish town of Numantia for fourteen months, keeping the water of the Duero from the town. In the first act Scipio gives a speech to revive the patriotism and loyalty of his troops, and Caius Marius replies that they will do their duty. Two Numantian ambassadors arrive under a safe conduct and ask for peace but not out of fear. Scipio replies that he would not be satisfied with friendship because he wants to exercise his strong hand and make all of Spain subject to the Roman Senate. As the men depart from the stage, Spain appears in the figure of a woman crowned in towers and bearing a castle. She predicts that Spain will take vengeance on the Romans for the sake of the Numantians. The River Duero is represented by three boys who predict the tragic fate of Numantia and the ultimate triumph of Felipe II who will take over Portugal.
In the second act the Numantians discuss their difficult options. Priests make sacrifices to Jupiter, and the auguries are dire. The magician Marquino fails and takes his own life. In the third act Caravino proposes to end the war by a single combat, but Scipio rejects this and exits. Theogenes suggests they rush out and die fighting, but Caravino is concerned about what will happen to the women. Four women with children and the maiden Lira come forward and declare their intention to die with the men. Theogenes suggests they destroy everything of value so that the Romans will gain nothing. They agree and go out to gather things in a bonfire. Leonicio offers to die with Lira. People bring linen and clothing to be burned, and a starving son asks to trade clothes for bread.
In the fourth and final act Scipio calls the Romans to arms because two Numantians have attacked them. One was killed, and wounded Marandro returns with a basket of bread and dies. A boy drops dead of hunger. A Numantian soldier is chasing a woman to kill her with a dagger; their Senate has decreed that no woman is to remain alive. A woman personifying War appears with Pestilence and Hunger. War looks forward to the “happy reign of Felipe, Charles V, and Ferdinand.” Pestilence notes that Hunger is killing them all, and now the Numantians are killing each other as if they were Romans. War orders them to carry out her commands. They depart, and Theogenes is planning to kill his children and wife. Two boys arrive, and Bariatus goes to the tower. Theogenes urges the Numantians to join him in killing themselves, and they go to the main square where the fire is burning. Scipio and Caius Marius see the carnage of dead bodies in the streets. Scipio claims that he would have forgiven them. They see the boy on the tower and want to take him in triumph to Rome, but he is the last to die by throwing himself from the tower. Scipio acknowledges that Numantia and Spain have acquired undying glory by their heroic virtue, and Fame appears in white. In this first great Spanish tragedy Cervantes portrays the harm of an empire by showing what the Romans did to Spain 1,752 years earlier which could not help but reflect on the current cruelties of the Spanish empire.
In 1584 Cervantes fell in love with Ana Franca de Rojas, probably an actress, and she bore his daughter. Yet in December of that year Cervantes married 19-year-old Catalina de Palacios Salazar y Vomediano, but they had no children. The first book published by Cervantes was the pastoral novel La Galatea in March 1585. Even Lope de Vega praised it, and its critical success established his reputation. However, it was not popular, and he never wrote the sequel he planned.
Also in March 1585 Cervantes was paid 80 ducats for writing the plays The Confused Lady (La confusa) and Life in Constantinople and the death of Selim (El trato de Constantinopla y muerte de Selim). These were the last plays by Cervantes known to have been produced. During the 1580s Cervantes claimed that he wrote at least twenty plays, but most of them have been lost.
1. Erasmi Epistolae, X, 2932, vv. 22-25 quoted in Juan Luis Vives by Carlos G. Noreña, p. 145.
2. “On the Law of War” 22 by Francisco de Vitoria in Political Writings, ed. Anthony Pagden and Jeremy Lawrence, p. 307.
3. Ibid., 28, p. 310.
4. De jure belli, 23 by Francisco de Vitoria, tr. José Maria Gimeno.
5. De jure belli, 35.
6. Lazarillo de Tormes tr. Michael Alpert in Two Picaresque Novels, p. 49.