|On Caring for One's Health||Rome, June 1, 1551|
Antonio Araoz1 was the nephew of Ignatius' sister-in-law, Magdalena de Araoz, wife of Martín García, an elder brother of Ignatius. Araoz was the first Spanish Jesuit to work in Spain; he proved to be an indefatigable laborer for the Lord, and as provincial, he established many new houses of the Society. He had been in Rome for the discussions on the Constitutions and had returned to Spain in April 1551. Ignatius received word that Araoz was not eating properly, could not sleep, and that he was suffering from so great a weakness that his physician ordered him to return to his native air to convalesce. In earlier letters Ignatius had paternally recommended that Araoz take better care of his health, but in the present letter he chooses to be more explicit, that is, he commands him under holy obedience to take three months off and do nothing but obey the physician's orders. Ignatius wrote this letter in Spanish [Ep. 3:534-535].
May the sovereign grace and everlasting love of Christ our Lord ever be our help and support.
I have been informed of the great need you have to look after your health, something I have partially known. I do know that though your health is frail, you allow yourself to be carried away by your charity to undertake tasks and labors that are more than you can conveniently bear. Judging in God our Lord that it would be more acceptable to His Divine Majesty to have you temper your zeal in this respect so that you will be able to labor the longer in his service, I have deemed it proper in our Lord to command you to follow the physician's advice in all that pertains to your meals, the use of your time, what hours and when you are to take for sleep and repose. For the next three months, from now until September, you are to do no preaching, but are to look after your health. An occasional exception may be made, if in the opinion of our lord, the duke, or of Don Juan,2 you can do so once a month without injury to your health. To avoid any contrary interpretation, and that you may know that I really mean this in our Lord, I command you in virtue of holy obedience to do as I here direct.
I beg God our Lord to give us all His bountiful grace ever to know His most holy will and perfectly to fulfill it.
From Rome, June 1, 1551.