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FATHER MANUEL GODINHO
Rome, January 31, 1552
summary | text
of letter | footnotes
After having been involved in the training of young Jesuits at San Fins,
Manuel Godinho was appointed treasurer of the college in Coimbra. Being
somewhat rigid and austere in his personal life, he found his new position
unnerving since he was now immersed in temporal and financial matters. He felt
these occupations nullified any good he might accomplish through his priestly
ministry and concluded that these occupations were an obstacle to his growth
in perfection. With this in mind he wrote to Ignatius in a letter no longer
extant. Ignatius responds by encouraging him and explaining that even the most
secular of occupations, when done with a pure intention, is as agreeable to
God as is prayer, in fact, even more agreeable when done under obedience. In
1552 Godinho gave up his position as treasurer to take on a more burdensome
task as rector of the college. The letter was written in Spanish [Ep.
May the perfect
peace and everlasting love of Christ our Lord ever be in our favor and help.
I received your
letter, dear brother in our Lord, and from it I learned of your arrival from
San Fins with the brethren who were under your care, and that everything, by
the grace of God our Lord, was done with due edification.
Though the charge of
temporal affairs seems to be and is distracting, I have no doubt that by your
good and upright intention you turn everything you do to something spiritual
for God's glory, and are thus very pleasing to his Divine Goodness. The
distractions which you accept for His greater service, in conformity with His
divine will interpreted to you by obedience cannot only equal the union and
recollection of uninterrupted contemplation, but even be more acceptable to
Him, proceeding as they do from a more active and vigorous charity. May God
our Creator and Lord deign to preserve and increase this charity in your soul
and in the souls of all. We correctly hold that any activity in which charity
is exercised unto God's glory, is very holy and suitable for us, and those
actions even more so in which the infallible rule of obedience to our
superiors has placed us. May He who gave to Elisha this twofold spirit [2
Kings 2:9], which you say is so necessary, grant it to you in abundance. I
will not be negligent in desiring and begging it of His Divine Majesty.
If, looking only to
God's glory, you still think that in God's service this office is unsuitable
for you, confer with your superiors there, and they will do what is proper.
Even here, as one who holds you very close to his heart, I will not fail to
May Christ our Lord
help us all with His bountiful grace, so that we may know His holy will and
perfectly fulfill it.
From Rome, January
Yours in our Lord,
||Godinho was born about 1520 near Évora, Portugal, and
entered the Society in Lisbon on March 11, 1542. He died in Lisbon on
August 4, 1569, caring for the plague stricken.