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FATHER PHILIP LEERNUS
|A Letter of Encouragement
Rome, December 30, 1553
summary | text
of letter | footnotes
The college in Modena opened in 1552, and Philip Leernus1 was its
second rector. He wrote to Ignatius protesting his unsuitableness to the task
especially because of the dryness of soul he was then experiencing. In this
letter of encouragement, Ignatius exhorts him to have confidence in God and in
His divine gifts. What is important is solid virtue, and spiritual relish does
not make a man perfect nor is it necessary in the divine service. The letter
was written in Italian [Ep. 6:109-110].
The peace of Christ.
My dear Father
The office of rector
which your reverence holds is in good hands. You ought to be on your guard
that your desire for humiliation does not yield to the spirit of
faintheartedness. We should not have a petty regard for God's gifts, though we
may and should despise our own imperfections. Let your reverence be of good
heart and let your companion, Master Giovanni Lorenzo2 help you
when he can. Do not lose heart or belittle yourself. Be assured that we have a
higher esteem of God's gifts in your reverence than you yourself have.
As to that blindness
or dryness of soul which you think you find in yourself, it may easily come
from a lack of confidence, or faintheartedness and, consequently, can be cured
by the contrary. Above all remember that God looks for solid virtues in us,
such as patience, humility, obedience, abnegation of your own will—that is,
the good will to serve Him and our neighbor in Him. His providence allows us
other devotions only insofar as He sees that they are useful to us. But since
they are not essential, they do not make a man perfect when they abound, nor
do they make him imperfect when they are absent.
I will say no more,
except to pray that Jesus Christ our Lord may be your strength and the support
of us all.
From Rome, December
||Leernus was born in Flanders about
1525, in the small town of Leerneur, near Liège. His family name was
Faber, but he was known in the Society as Philip Leernus, after his
native town, as well as Philip of Flanders. He was a priest at the
time of his entrance into the Society in Rome in October 1550. He was
first stationed at the college in Ferrara and became rector at Modena
at the end of 1553. He died in Modena on February 26, 1558.
||Giovanni Lorenzo Patarini was born
on December 25, 1527, in Piacenza, Italy, and entered the Society on
April 21, 1551. He studied at Bologna, was ordained there in March
1552, was then stationed in Ferrara and moved to Modena with Philip
Leernus. He died in Naples on November 7, 1557.