Meschler, Moritz

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Jesuit spiritual writer; b. Brig (Switzerland), Sept. 16, 1830; d. Exaeten (Holland), Dec. 3, 1912. The religious training he received from his mother and a rigorous classical education under the Jesuits and Benedictines contributed to the formation of his robust and charming personality. He entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 20 and, after his ordination, filled various positions of trust: master of novices, provincial, assistant to the general, spiritual director, and writer. His spiritual doctrine, though rooted in revelation and developed according to solid theological principles, was the fruit of personal experience, keen observation and prolonged reflection during his years of religious life rather than the product of scientific research. His manner of presentation was clear, analytical, and systematic, yet graced with charm and richness of description. He conceived perfection as a height to be scaledmuch like his native Alpsby heroic effort, with Christ as guide and source of strength, so that his doctrine revolved around two poles: the attractive force of Christ's humanity, and the need for earnest moral and intellectual effort. Though he predated the encyclicals Mediator Dei and Mystici corporis by 50 years, his spirituality was remarkably Christocentric and liturgically oriented. Among his best known works available in English are: The Life of Jesus Christ (Freiburg 1909) and Three Fundamental Principles of the Spiritual Life (2d ed. St. Louis, Mo. 1912).

Bibliography: n. scheid, Pater Mortiz Meschler aus der Gesellschaft Jesu: Ein Lebensbild (Freiburg 1925). l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934); photoduplicated with rev. and suppl., 2 v. (Louvain-Heverlee 1962) 119596.

[d. maruca]