Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ignatian Antinomy

...not to be confused with antimony.1,2 (comment on Wikipedia entry for antinomy)

In his first principle and foundation, Ignatius of Loyola uses antinomy to good effect:
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God. — From David Fleming SJ's beautiful paraphrase

When I told a friend the other day that I was working on not preferring order over chaos, he suggested that might be my own Ignatian antinomy. I said we could probably all write our own personal versions. Forthwith, here is mine.
I should not fix my desires on wet socks or dry feet,
placemats or tablecloths,3 silence or noise, order or utter chaos.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God (even the placemats).
I just finished writing a reflection (for next Lent!) which in combination with this exchange has me thinking about how I am willing to assent to broad terms but when faced with the real issues of my ordinary life can let it all go out the window.

Making the Exercises these big bins — success and failure, wealth and poverty — were much on my mind. But Ignatius was thinking that everything sat on this ability to let all these things, desired or not, move us closer to God. Everyday, not just while making the Exercises, not just in the momentous decisions about life, but when faced with the kitchen and the dishes, the laundry and the mail, the phone and teen driving lessons.

1. Antimony is a chemical element.
2. Blogger's spellcheck suggests I change antinomy to antimony. I am not confused.
3. You need to ask Math Man about this one.


  1. Lynda6:24 AM

    Thank you for opening up deeper and more challenging meanings to this portion of the first principle and foundation. Lots of food for thought and action.