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 The Spirit of Victory 
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Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 2:30 pm
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New post The Spirit of Victory
I read a book some twenty years ago on the foundation of the Jesuits. I cannot find the book so I am sorry I cannot give a reference, but the doctrine it expressed on one special point was so striking that I have never forgotten it.

St. Ignatius was training men especially for combat against heresy. His men would be engaged in argument with other men, over the rights of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Now, in such contests, there can be a supernatural desire for victory, which victory is the conversion of the erring, or there can be a natural desire for victory, which is the desire to be proved right. The natural man would desire victory in such combats for his own glory, and this desire for victory would tend to vitiate the good that should be secured by the victory, the conversion of the erring.

St. Ignatius referred to this natural desire for vindication as “the spirit of victory”, and he worked assiduously to eliminate it from his men. Indeed, he would not permit any Jesuit to engage in controversy until he was certain that this spirit was entirely absent from the soul. One could say that this single principle was the heart and centre of his entire programme of training – eliminate the spirit of victory.

How much of our debate on the Internet is motivated by this spirit, so harmful to the cause of Our Lord, and how much is motivated by the love of Him and the love of others for His sake? Do we feel anger arise in our hearts when we are contradicted? Do we desire that the best points are made by us, rather than others? Do we desire recognition for our victories? Do we avoid unnecessary irritation of opponents? Do we find any pleasure in the discomfiture of those we defeat in argument? Do we acknowledge the good points made by our opponents? Do we acknowledge defeat when we are in fact defeated on a point? Are we able to consider what our opponent says with equanimity, and ensure that we have grasped his true meaning? Are we just towards all, even those who differ with us? Or do we start with the assumption that he is wrong about everything, and thereby treat him without justice? Do we find ourselves judging rashly, assuming evil motives in others, without sufficient grounds? Do we assume that when another expresses himself bitterly towards us, he may well be motivated by the love of God, whose rights he believes himself to be defending? Do we distinguish carefully what is the teaching of the Church, to which all are bound, from theological opinions, which an educated man may reject for good reason?

Do not think for a moment that I think myself free from this terrible vice. :)

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In Christ our King.


Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:13 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:31 am
Posts: 696
Location: Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.
New post Re: The Spirit of Victory
Speaking for myself:

John Lane wrote:
Do we feel anger arise in our hearts when we are contradicted?

No.

John Lane wrote:
Do we desire that the best points are made by us, rather than others?

No.

John Lane wrote:
Do we desire recognition for our victories?

Absolutely not.

John Lane wrote:
Do we avoid unnecessary irritation of opponents?

No. :oops: In fact, I rather enjoy this sometimes. :lol:

John Lane wrote:
Do we find any pleasure in the discomfiture of those we defeat in argument?

No.

John Lane wrote:
Do we acknowledge the good points made by our opponents?

Yes.

John Lane wrote:
Do we acknowledge defeat when we are in fact defeated on a point?

Yes.

John Lane wrote:
Are we able to consider what our opponent says with equanimity, and ensure that we have grasped his true meaning?

Not always. Sometimes their words are very confusing to me.

John Lane wrote:
Are we just towards all, even those who differ with us?

Not "all": sometimes it is quite clear when someone is trying to "bait" me and I will respond, happily, in kind. :evil:

John Lane wrote:
Or do we start with the assumption that he is wrong about everything, and thereby treat him without justice?

No.

John Lane wrote:
Do we find ourselves judging rashly, assuming evil motives in others, without sufficient grounds?

No.

John Lane wrote:
Do we assume that when another expresses himself bitterly towards us, he may well be motivated by the love of God, whose rights he believes himself to be defending?

Usually, no...at least not those with whom I normally argue: protty dogs.

John Lane wrote:
Do we distinguish carefully what is the teaching of the Church, to which all are bound, from theological opinions, which an educated man may reject for good reason?

I leave all of those such situations to you, John. :lol:

John Lane wrote:
Do not think for a moment that I think myself free from this terrible vice. :)

Do you feel like The Alone Stranger? Hee hee!

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Kenneth G. Gordon


Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:54 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:31 am
Posts: 696
Location: Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.
New post Re: The Spirit of Victory
I see a difficult situation here: as Our Lord told the Pharisees, "....if I have the truth, and say I don't, then I am like you, a liar."

If God has given us the truth, then are we not required to pass it on to whomever will accept it?

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Kenneth G. Gordon


Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:03 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:54 pm
Posts: 29
New post Re: The Spirit of Victory
Just one more for the list:

Do I always want to be the one who has the last word?


Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:02 pm
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Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 1:05 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Virginia
New post Re: The Spirit of Victory
John, Thank you for posting that. It was excellent.


Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:30 pm
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