Fed up to the Teeth with Hearing More About the Jesuits
- An extract from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner from 2nd November 1918:
"For reasons I have already mentioned, the life and aspirations of men at
the beginning of the fifteenth century are characterized by a spirit of
opposition to the uniformity of the Roman Church which operated through
This assault of personality again provokes a reaction, the counter-thrust of
Jesuitism which comes to the support of the Romanism of the Church.
Jesuitism in its original sense (though everything today, if you will
forgive the brutal expression, is reduced to idle gossip and Jesuitism is on
everyone's lips) is only possible within the Roman Catholic Church. For
fundamentally Jesuitism is based on the following: whilst in the true People
of the Christ the revelation of the Christ impulse remains in the
supersensible world and does not descend into the physical world (Solovieff
wishes to spiritualize the material world, not to materialize the spiritual
world), the aim of Jesuitism is to drag down the Kingdom of God into the
temporal world and to awaken impulses in the souls of men so that the
Kingdom of God operates on the physical plane in the same way as the laws of
the physical world. Jesuitism, therefore, aspires to establish a temporal
sovereignty in the form of a temporal kingdom of the Christ. It wishes to
achieve this by training the members of the Jesuit order after the fashion
of an army. The individual Jesuit feels himself to be a spiritual soldier.
He feels Christ, not as the spiritual Christ who acts upon the world through
the medium of the Spirit, but he feels Him-and to this end he must direct
his thoughts and feelings - as a temporal sovereign whom he serves as one
serves an earthly King, or as a soldier serves his generalissimo. The
ecclesiastical administration, since it is concerned with spiritual matters,
will, of course, be different from that of a secular military regime; but
the spiritual order must be subject to strict military discipline.
Everything must be so ordained that the true Christian becomes a soldier of
the generalissimo Jesus. In essence this is the purpose of those exercises
which every Jesuit practises in order to develop in himself that vast power
which the Jesuit order has long possessed and which will still be felt in
its decadent forms in the chaotic times that lie ahead. The purpose of the
meditations prescribed by Ignatius Loyola and which are faithfully observed
by Jesuits is to make the Jesuit first and foremost a soldier of the
generalissimo Jesus Christ.
Here are a few samples. Let us take, for example, the spiritual exercise of
the second week. The exercitant must always begin with a preliminary
meditation in which he evokes in imagination 'the Kingdom of Christ'. He
must visualize this Kingdom with Christ as supreme commander in the vanguard
leading his legions, whose mission is to conquer the world. Then follows a
preliminary prayer; then the first preamble.
'1. It consists in a clear representation of the place; here I must see with
the eyes of imagination the synagogues, towns and villages which Christ our
Lord passed through on His mission.'
All this must be visualized in a complete picture so that the novice sees
the situation and all the separate representations as something which is
visibly present to him.
`2. I ask for the grace which I desire. Here I must ask of our Lord the
grace that I should not be deaf to His call, but should be prompt and
diligent to fulfil His most holy will.'
Then follows the actual exercise. (What I have quoted so far were
preparatory exercises.) The first part again includes several points. The
soul is very carefully prepared.
`Point 1 . I conjure up a picture of a terrestrial King chosen by God our
Lord Himself to whom all Christians and all princes render homage and
The exercitant must hold this before him in his imagination with the same
intensity as a sensory representation.
`Point 2. I observe how the King addresses all his subjects and says to
them: "It is my will to conquer all the territories of the infidels.
Therefore whosoever would go forth with me must be content with the same
food as myself, the same drink and clothing, etcetera. He must also toil
with me by day and keep watch with me by night so that he may share in the
victory with me, even as he shared in the toil." '
This strengthens the will, in that sensible images penetrate directly into
this will, illuminate it and spiritualize it.
`Point 3. I consider how his faithful subjects must answer a King so kind
and so generous, and consequently how the man who would refuse the appeal of
such a King would be deserving of censure by the whole world and would be
regarded as an ignoble Knight.'
The exercitant must clearly recognize that if he is not a true soldier, a
warrior of this generalissimo, then the whole world will look upon him as
Then follows the second part of this exercise of the `second week.'
`The second part of this exercise consists in applying the previous example
of the terrestrial King to Christ our Lord in accordance with the three
points mentioned above.
`Point 1 . If we regard an appeal of the terrestrial King to his subjects as
deserving of our consideration, then how much more deserving of our
consideration is it to see Christ our Lord, the Eternal King, and the whole
before Him, to see how He appeals to all and each one in particular saying:
"It is my will to conquer the whole world and to subjugate my enemies and
thus enter into the glory of my Father. Whoever therefore will follow me
must be prepared to labour with me, so that, by following me in suffering,
he may also follow me in glory."
`Point 2 To consider that all who are endowed with judgement and reason will
offer themselves entirely for this arduous service.
`Point 3. Those who are animated by the desire to show still greater
devotion and to distinguish themselves in the total service of their eternal
King and universal Lord will not only offer themselves wholly for such
arduous service, but will also fight against their own sensuality, their
carnal lusts and their attachment to the world and thus make sacrifices of
higher value and greater importance, saying:
` "Eternal Lord of all things, with Thy favour and help, in the presence of
Thy infinite Goodness and of Thy glorious Mother and of all the saints of
the heavenly Court, I present my body as a living sacrifice and swear that
it is my wish and desire and my firm resolve, provided it is for Thy greater
service and praise, to imitate Thee in enduring all injustice, all
humiliation and all poverty, both actual and spiritual, if it shall please
Thy most holy Majesty to choose me and admit me to this life and to this
`This exercise should be practised twice a day, in the morning on rising and
one hour before lunch or dinner.
`For the second week and the following weeks it is very beneficial at times
to read passages from The Imitation of Christ or from the Gospels and lives
of the Saints.'
to be read in conjunction with those meditations which train especially the
will through visualization. One must know how the will develops when it is
under the influence of these Imaginations-this martial will in the realm of
the Spirit which makes Christ Jesus its generalissimo! The exercise speaks
of the `heavenly Court which one serves in all forms of submission and
humility'. With these exercises, which through the imagination train
especially the will, is associated something which exercises a powerful
influence upon the will when it is continually repeated. For the schooling
of Jesuits is above all a schooling of the will. It is recommended to repeat
daily the above meditation in the following weeks as a basic meditation and
where possible in the same form, before the selected daily meditation,
before the `contemplation'. Let us take, for example, the fourth day. We
have the normal preliminary prayer then a first preamble.
'I. We visualize the historical event-Christ summons and assembles all men
under His standard, and Lucifer, on the other hand, under his standard.'
One must have an exact visual picture of the standard. And one must also
visualize two armies, each preceded by its standard, the standard of Lucifer
and the standard of Christ.
`2. You form a clear picture of the place; here a vast plain round about
Jerusalem, where stands Christ our Lord, the sole and supreme commander of
the just and good, with His army in battle order; and another plain round
about Babylon where stands Lucifer, chief of the enemy forces.'
The two armies now face each other-the standard of Lucifer and the standard
`3. I ask for what I desire: here I ask for knowledge of the lures of the
evil adversary and for help to preserve myself from them; also for knowledge
of the true life of which our sovereign and true commander is the exemplar,
and for grace to imitate Him.'
Now follows the first part of the actual exercise: the standard of Lucifer;
the exercitant therefore directs his spiritual eye of imagination upon the
army which follows the standard of Lucifer.
`Point 1. Imagine you see the chief of all the adversaries in the vast plain
around Babylon seated on a high throne of fire and smoke, a figure inspiring
terror and fear.
`Point 2. Consider how he summons innumerable demons, scattering them
abroad, some to one city, some to another and thus over the whole earth
without overlooking any province, place, station in life or any single
This despatch of demons must be visualized concretely and in detail.
`Point 3. Consider the address he makes to them, how he enjoins upon them to
prepare snares and fetters to bind men. First, they are to tempt men to
covet riches, as he (Lucifer) is accustomed to do in most cases, so that
they may the more easily attain the vain approbation of the world and then
develop an overweening pride.
`Accordingly, the first step will be riches, the second fame, the third
pride. And from these three steps Lucifer seduces man to all the other
Second Part. The standard of Christ
`In the same way we must picture to ourselves on the opposing side, the
sovereign and true commander, Christ our Lord.
`Point 1 . Consider Christ our Lord, beautiful and gracious to behold,
standing in a lowly place, in a vast plain about the region of Jerusalem.
`Point 2. Consider how the Lord of the whole world chooses so many persons,
apostles, disciples, etcetera, and sends them forth into all lands to preach
the Gospel to men of all stations in life and of every condition.
`Point 3. Consider the address which Christ our Lord holds in the presence
of all His servants and friends whom He sends on this crusade, recommending
them to endeavour to help all, first urging upon them to accept the highest
spiritual poverty, and, if it should find favour in the eyes of His divine
Majesty and if, should he deign to choose them, to accept also actual
poverty; secondly to desire humiliation and contempt, for from these two
things, poverty and humiliation, springs humility.
`Accordingly there are three steps: first, poverty as opposed to riches,
secondly, humiliation and contempt as opposed to worldly fame, thirdly,
humility as opposed to pride. And from these three steps the ambassadors of
Christ shall lead men to the other virtues.'
The spiritual exercises are practised in this way. As I have already said,
what matters is that a temporal kingdom, and organized as such, must be
represented as the army of Christ Jesus. Jesuitism is the most consistent,
the best, and moreover extremely well organized expression, of what I
referred to as the second current-the impulse of the People of the Church.
We shall find in effect that fundamentally this impulse of the People of the
Church is to reduce the unique revelation which occurred at Jerusalem to the
level of a temporal Kingdom. For the end and object of the exercises is
ultimately to bring the exercitant to choose himself as soldier serving
under the banner of Christ and to feel himself to be a true soldier of
Christ. That was the message entrusted to Ignatius Loyola through a
revelation of a special kind. He first performed heroic deeds as a soldier,
then as he lay on a sick bed recovering from his wounds was led as a result
of meditations (I will not say by what power) to transform the martial
impulse which formerly inspired him into the impulse to become a soldier of
Christ. It is one of the most interesting phenomena of world history to
observe how the martial qualities of an outstandingly brave soldier are
transformed through meditations into spiritual qualities. Where the
continuous influence which the Christ impulse had exercised within the
People of the Christ had been blunted, it is clear that jesuitism had to
assume this extreme form. And the question arises: is there not another form
of Christianity diametrically opposed to that of jesuitism? In that event a
force would have to emerge in the territory occupied by the People of the
Church. From the different reactions of Lutheranism, Zwinglianism,
Calvinism, Schwenkfeldism and the Anabaptists, from this chaos and
fragmentation, a force would have to emerge which not only follows the line
of Jesuit thought (for jesuitism is only an extreme expression of Catholic
dogma)-but which is diametrically opposed to jesuitism, something which
seeks to break away from this community of the People of the Church, whilst
jesuitism seeks to be ever more deeply involved in it. jesuitism wishes to
transform the Christ impulse into a purely temporal sovereignty, to found a
terrestrial state which is at the same time a Jesuit state, and which is
governed in accordance with the principles of those who have volunteered to
become soldiers of the generalissimo Christ. What could be the force which
is the antithesis of jesuitism ?
The counter-impulse would be that which seeks, not to materialize the
spiritual, but to spiritualize the material world. This impulse is a natural
endowment amongst the true People of the Christ and finds expression in
Solovieff though often tentatively. Within the territory of the true People
of the Church there exists something which is radically opposed to
jesuitism, something which rejects any direct intervention of the spiritual
in power politics and external affairs, and wishes the Christ impulse to
penetrate into the souls of men, and indirectly through these souls to
operate in the external world. Such an impulse might well appear in the
People of the Church --because, in the meantime, much might tend in this
direction; but it would seek to direct evolution in such a way that the
spiritual Christ impulse penetrates only into the souls and remains to some
extent esoteric, esoteric in the best and noblest sense of the term. Whilst
jesuitism wishes to tranform everything into a temporal kingdom, this other
current would simply regard the temporal kingdom as something which, if need
be, must exist on the physical plane, something, however, which unites men
so that they can lift up their souls to higher realms. This current which is
the polar opposite of Jesuitism is Goetheanism.
The aim of Goetheanism is the exact opposite of that of Jesuitism. And you
will understand Goetheanism from a different angle if you consider it as by
nature diametrically opposed to jesuitism. That is why Jesuitism is, and
ever will be the sworn foe of Goetheanism. They cannot coexist; they know
each other too well and Jesuitism is well informed on Goethe. The best book
on Goethe, from the Jesuit standpoint of course, is that of the Jesuit
father, Baumgartner. What the various German professors and the Englishman,
G. H. Lewes, have written about Goethe is pure dilettantism compared with
the three volumes by Baumgartner. He knows what he is about! As an adversary
he sees Goethe with a more critical eye. Nor does he write like a German
professor of average intelligence or like the Englishman, Lewes, who depicts
a man who was indeed born in Frankfurt in 1749; he is said to have lived
through the same experiences as Goethe, but the man he depicts is not
Goethe. But Baumgartner's portrait is reinforced with the forces of will
derived from his meditations. Thus Goetheanism, which is destined to play a
part in the future, is linked to something which is directly associated with
the epoch beginning with the fifteenth century via the Reformation to
from 'From Symptom to Reality in Modern History'