Ignatius López de Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, was a soldier wounded in the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. During his convalescence he became devoted to the service of God. Despite this conviction it took him a while to understand what it meant, as an incident in his autobiography shows.
In 1522 Ignatius was riding on the road to Monserrat and met a Muslim going the same way. As they rode together they started talking about the Blessed Virgin. The Muslim said he couldn’t believe she remained a virgin after conceiving a child. Ignatius argued that she did. After the Muslim rode on ahead. Ignatius reviewed their conversation, becoming increasingly agitated that he had not convinced the Muslim, whose words Ignatius took as an insult to Mary. Ignatius became so upset that he felt he should catch up to the Muslim and stab him for the insult. After a protracted internal struggle he could not decide what he should do.
Finally, unable to make a clear decision, he decided to give free rein to his mule as he passed the point where the Muslim had said he intended to leave the high road. If the mule turned off the road toward the town indicated, Ignatius would seek out the Muslim and stab him. If the mule stayed don the high road, avoiding the town, he would let him be.
As he reached the fork in the road, the mule stayed on the main road, even though the town stood was only thirty or forty yards off the highway and the road to it was very wide and easy. Ignatius himself told this story to Father Louis Gonzalez many years later to illustrate how easily one might go astray.
In IX New Millennium, Ignatius Xavier Ryan has reason to recall this story.
Excerpted from The Autobiography of St. Ignatius Loyola