The sad man related how his life in the Society of Jesuits had started. How the religious exercises made him think about himself and the world. How the introspection and extrospection made one feel comfortable about God and the world in general.
Based on the last few hours of the story he was telling I wondered what was coming next.
“Remember the conspiracies that I mentioned? I was sure that these stories were the result of late eighteenth and nineteenth century problems with the Freemasons.”
“However, it became apparent that even the Spanish Inquisition had problems with the Jesuits. This was followed by problems with the reformationists. Popular anti-Jesuit thinking in France was set on fire by several books; both academic and novel. Germany, from the 1870’s until the early 1900’s, required the Jesuits to disband and desist from engaging in their practices. Even the Nazi regime treated the Jesuits with disdain and loathing.”
“I suppose that I was influenced in the wrong direction by the stories of these conspiracies. I begin to wonder if every elitist across Europe could be wrong about the Jesuits. Was there something within the society that made them so hated? Surely it could be jealousy if nothing else.”
“But the society did appear to have secrets even when there was nothing to hide. They were an elite group of men and surely human nature does not allow one group of elites to live harmoniously with other groups of elites. That is the basis of war.”
“Then again, within such a group of learned men that made up the society there indeed had to be a substantial amount of arrogance. This may have been the cause; even though the spiritual exercises attempted to make the novice aware of the pitfalls of arrogance. Was the society perceived as arrogant?”
“Eventually my enthusiasm for the Jesuit life waned. I had learned much and was slated to become a professor within the society. But the structure of the Jesuit life, even though enlightening, seemed to keep me from creating original thoughts.”
“It finally dawned on me that I would not recover my LOST ORIGINAL THOUGHT in that environment. I was asked to stay on. When they finally realized that I was seeking something previously lost they decided to cut their own loses.”
“I was removed from the society.”
And then the sad man walked away from me a short distance; but stopped.