St. Ignatius' Autobiography, Part 9: Indifference
In the Gospel, Jesus tells the rich young man that in order to gain eternal life, “sell all you have, give the money to the poor, and then, come, follow me.” We see evidence here that Ignatius is taking those words to heart. He has not gone to see the Duke so that he can resume his previous life in search of honors, wealth and a noble lady. He is getting money that he was owed, but only so that he can use it to settle accounts with others, and use the rest for the renovation of a statue of the Blessed Mother. The Duke’s offer to place him in charge of one of his properties is merely noted. The fact that he doesn’t speak of it further speaks volumes of the indifference he feels toward such temptations at this point in his spiritual journey. This offer, based on “the reputation he had earned in the past” is no doubt exactly the type of offer that the soldier Loyola returning from Pamplona would have jumped at; but he, literally, at least in terms of this narrative, doesn’t give it a second thought. In “The First Principle and Foundation,” of The Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius suggests that we must make ourselves “indifferent” to all created things, using them only insofar as they help us to achieve the purpose for which we are created, “to praise, reverence and serve God, and by this means to save [our] soul[s].” As Ignatius takes leave of money, honor, and two servants, we see the beginnings of this seminal insight.