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EMERIO DE BONIS
Rome, May 23, 1556
summary | text
of letter | footnotes
Emerio de Bonis,1 a scholastic teaching in Padua, had been in the
Society only five years and felt somewhat insecure in it. He had been
suffering temptations against chastity and decided to write to Ignatius, in a
letter that has not survived, opening his soul to him and manifesting his
troubled spiritual state. Ignatius had Polanco write a consoling letter to
him, indicating remedies he might put to use. Ignatius also offers him the
opportunity of coming to Rome to continue his studies. Later in life de Bonis
became an eminent director of souls and spiritual writer. Polanco wrote this
letter in Italian [Ep. 11:439-440].
The peace of Christ.
My dear Master
Emerio in Christ;
Our Father has
understood what you wrote. Though you show great courage in overcoming the
enemy who up to the present has harassed you, but by God's grace has not
overcome you, he leaves it to you to decide. Judging that it would be to your
greater consolation, whether to come to Rome next September, or to remain in
Padua, or to change to some other college in which you could take charge of
the first class, as you do there.
In this way you
will, with God's help defend yourself. Besides your prayer, make it a point
not to look at anyone fixedly in the face, which might cause you any
uneasiness of heart. In general, when you deal with the neighbor, let your
eyes be averted, and try not to think of this one or that one as handsome or
ugly, but rather as the image of the most holy Trinity, as a member of Christ
and bathed in His blood. Moreover, do not become familiar with anyone. It will
be enough if in school, you fulfill your task as teacher in pure charity and
obedience. Always deal with your students in public and not in private, and
extern students should not be allowed the run of the house, unless the rector
has, in some particular case, given permission. By attending to your progress
in God's service and the way of perfection, God will continue to help you.
Also be on your
guard against those times and occasions when you are usually attacked. Briefly
raise your mind to God. And above all, make a real effort to abide in His
presence, frequently recalling that His Infinite Wisdom is present both to the
inner and exterior man.
There is no need to
multiply remedies if you make faithful use of these. And do not forget the
first, which concerns the eyes. You will, then, never complain with him who
says: my eyes cause me grief [Lam. 3:51].
Our Father and all
of us commend ourselves to your prayers.
From Rome, May 23,
||De Bonis was born in Guastalla, in Lombardy, in 1531,
and entered the Society in August 1550 in Rome. He was ordained in
Rome in 1560 and served as rector of several colleges and gained a
reputation for being an eloquent preacher. He died in Naples on April