I’ve been looking all over for this, in an electronic format I mean.
Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues
In Two Volumes
If every priest and religious (and lay persons too, as appropriate) the world over would read this “handbook” and work diligently, in the grace of God, to apply Rodriguez’s instruction in their daily lives, the Church would undergo a radical transformation and truly be capable of fulfilling the demands of the New Evangelization.
This is a forgotten classic that was used in the training of countless religious brothers and priests (not just Jesuits!) and many diocesan priests for over four centuries. Women’s congregations referenced it too, but it embodies a rather masculine spirituality.
It was written in the early 1600s by Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez (not the same as the lay brother, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez), and translated newly from the Spanish originals in the early 20th Century by another Jesuit father named Joseph Rickaby.
Rodriguez served as novice master in Spain for over 30 years, and for about the same length of time he was in charge of giving weekly spiritual conferences to other professed Jesuits. Needless to say, his wisdom and insights were highly respected in those early years of the Society of Jesus. When he had reached the last years of his life, his superiors asked Fr. Rodriguez to compile all his notes into a single work that could be used by future generations of Jesuits who were being trained in the religious life. He more than generously responded to the request.
Sadly, like a lot of good things, this magnificent work was shelved if not tossed out of seminaries and religious houses following the cultural revolution in the 1960s.
Well … it should make a comeback! I’d love to see someone re-master the text and publish it in paperback, hardback and e-book editions (Kindle, iBooks, etc.).
Apparently, one factor that somewhat hampers such a project is that the American edition is still under copyright until sometime in the 2020s. But this British edition, per British copyright law, is already in the public domain (awesome!).
So please, have at it, all of you, and share the links as you will.
Note: I found and posted a link to an excerpt from a different edition earlier today, but that document contains only the 5th Treatise from Vol 1, On Prayer. This is the full-text of the 2-volume British printing of Rickaby’s translation, which contains the whole of what was originally published as 3 volumes in Spanish back in 1609.
( I’ve repeated some of what I put in my other post, but only because it’s relevant to the whole work as much to that one excerpt. )