IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA 265
Scholastic thought no longer ground any grist and kept going only for the sake of the noise they made. Every day Inigo read the Passion of Our Lord during Mass. Daily he prayed seven hours, wore a hair shirt and a penitential girdle, took care of the sick, and mortified his flesh. All that anguish of rebirth taking place in loneliness, which strikes at the very bottom of the human soul more fiercely than any- thing else in the world, descended upon him, too. Heaven began to play a wild game with him. A storm baffling all description now carried him up to pleasant heights, and then again threw him down into the abyss of despair. Today he could be blissfully aware of his high calling: tomorrow he would feel all the misery of one whom God has forsaken. And when by unrestrained penitence, he had exhausted his body, which he looked upon as a beast of burden in the service of the Church, there was associated with his physical weakness the spiritual illness which in his eyes was worst of all arrogance of the soul, which suggested to him that he could feel certain of Paradise. Like all heroes of self-discipline, he paid for attacks on his own ego with the revenge taken by an undermined nature; and so the sharpest pain he was to feel still awaited him. It is true that his cool temperament preserved him from the usual temptation of extreme ascetics mon- strous sensuality. So much the more was he stabbed by the swords of endless scruples. In this respect he had a certain similarity to Luther. Despite many thorough confessions, Inigo also doubted that his sins had been forgiven, took the body of the Lord in constant fear that he was eating the Judgment, and saw in everything he did naught but sin. Indeed, one Sunday after Communion he nearly committed suicide. Once again he attempted with a long fast to compel God to give him peace* When this also failed, he began to look upon all his life of penance with disgust and was on the verge of abandoning it. Ten months of torment had passed; and then the scruples van- ished into nothingness by reason of the Saint's energetic prayer, and his conviction that all the forces which had lamed him were of the Devil. The battle was over and a new man, rich in peace, had been born into the world.
All things are more sharply defined in the pure air that follows a storm and so Ignatius now saw the things of the world of the spirit with new plainness. Glancing into the rivulet at Manresa, he seized