The Liturgy: Where the Battle for the Lordship of Christ in Society Begins
The mission of the Society of Ignatians ‒ to combat for the honor of God and the salvation of souls without compromise by creating creative Catholic minorities to build a society with a Catholic soul ‒ requires Ignatians to form both themselves and their spiritual sons and daughters with a keen alertness to the fact that the Faith is not to be lived in splendid isolation but is meant to be a program to dynamize and transform society.
This is because firstly God is God, Creator and Lord of all reality, not only of individuals but also of society, which must accordingly honor His Sovereign Majesty. Secondly, because society either helps or hinders its members’ salvation. Never is any society neutral in regard to God’s honor and man achieving his ultimate destiny. Nor is any man merely a lone individual ‒ necessarily he influences and is influenced by his surroundings.
The Traditional Latin Liturgy: Educator Extraordinaire of the Lordship of Christ!
The traditional liturgy, when unfolded in all its implications, is the educator par excellence of this awareness that Catholics are called to christify society. This is because it transparently and constantly teaches that Jesus Christ is Lord not only of the individual but of society; and that Catholics are called to mission.
Thus, the traditional liturgy by its marked God-centredness creates in the Catholic a mindset whereby he knows that society must have a Catholic soul if it is to be in accord with God’s Will and man’s wellbeing. Through its divinely assisted powerful pedagogy composed by saintly souls through two millennia divine grace strengthened the souls of countless kings, queens, statesmen, slavery abolitionists and other social reformers, and indeed all Catholics in their struggles to create a Catholic soul for society.
Thus, through the sacred liturgy the Ignatian guides souls on the way, the only way, willed by Almighty God, to fulfillment in time and for unending ages in eternity – in a word, to eternal salvation.
In the sacred traditional liturgy’s intellectually rich, multi-faceted dimensions, composed from the minds and hearts of countless great men and women of God through the millennia, the Ignatian is convinced that he has found what is vital to the creation of a Catholic soul for society. In it he finds the vivifying source for ( put the following 4 bulleted points in a parpahrase since I already inserted them to “Schooled by the Sacred Liturgy”
- Depth and orthodoxy of doctrine. The traditional liturgy, both because it is intellectually complex, presenting all the deep and tough mysteries of God’s revelation without ambiguity, and because it is fiery, emotive, and appealing to the heart, urges the Ignatian to depth in his theological studies.
- The insistence of the traditional liturgy on the cosmic and perennial combat of the “Axis of Evil” against man’s soul empowers him to be alert and focused for spiritual combat.
- Deeply it inspires extra-liturgical prayer
- It inflames the desire for asceticism. For the Society of Ignatians, the liturgical and the ascetic are bonded together intimately and inseparably. Accordingly, we follow integrally all the laws of fasting and abstinence of the traditional liturgy.
- It instills urgency for action to fulfill the Ignatian mission to create creative minorities for the creation of a society with a Catholic culture. For the traditional liturgy vividly reveals the utter darkness of the reigning “Dictatorship of Relativism”, its “Culture of Death” that wreaks havoc in countless souls, and makes clear that no compromise with it is possible.
To achieve the mission of forming creative Catholic minorities it is necessary to recall that the mission is no mere natural one but supernatural, calling for a supernatural creativity that is the fruit of the theological virtues and the infused virtues of the Holy Spirit. History evidences these men during the first millennium when Christendom was in the making.
Ignatians will conceive the liturgy as an absolutely essential integral part of both their personal spiritual life and their pastoral work. As the summit of the Christian life, both in Ignatian communities and in pastoral institutions, it will be cultivated with care, surrounded by beauty in order to make it a window for Catholics and non-Catholics onto the splendor of the Truth that is Catholicism.
The Feast of Christ the King
As Dr. Peter Kwasniewski wrote in an essay entitled “Should the Feast of Christ the King be celebrated in October or November?” (see https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/10/should-feast-of-christ-king-be.html ) in which he examined the implications of the different timing for the feast in the classical Roman liturgy and in the new Novus Ordo liturgy:
“Pius XI’s intention [in instituting the Feast of Christ the King], as can be gleaned from n. 29, is to emphasize the glory of Christ as terminus of His earthly mission, a glory and mission visible and perpetuated in history by the saints. Hence the feast falls shortly before the Feast of All Saints, to emphasize that what Christ inaugurated in His own person before ascending in glory, the saints then instantiate and carry further in human society, culture, and nations. It is a feast primarily about celebrating Christ’s ongoing kingship over all reality, including this present world, where the Church must fight for the recognition of His rights, the actual extension of His dominion to all domains, individual and social.
“Indeed, there’s also the obvious fact, unmentioned in Quas Primas but surely in everyone’s mind, that the last Sunday in October had, for centuries, been celebrated as Reformation Sunday. A Catholic counter-feast, reminding the world not only of the comprehensive Kingship of Jesus Christ—so often denied socially and culturally by various teachings of Protestantism—but also of the worldwide kingly authority of His Church, would certainly be a reasonable application of the principle lex orandi, lex credendi. […]
“….It would seem that Pius XI’s intention, consistent with the encyclical as a whole, was more to insist on the rights of Jesus Christ here and now, and the corresponding duties of men and nations on earth. As Pius XI explains:
‘The empire of our Redeemer embraces all men. To use the words of Our immortal predecessor, Pope Leo XIII: “His empire includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons who, though of right belonging to the Church, have been led astray by error, or have been cut off from her by schism, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ.” Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. … If, therefore, the rulers of nations wish to preserve their authority, to promote and increase the prosperity of their countries, they will not neglect the public duty of reverence and obedience to the rule of Christ. … When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.’ (Quas Primas 18-19)
“From this vantage, which certainly does not sound like the language of Dignitatis Humanae or the postconciliar diplomacy of the Church, it is hard to resist thinking that the eschatological perspective betrays weak knees before the challenge of modern secularization, as well as hesitation about the perceived “triumphalism” of the earlier papal social teaching. In other words, the kingship of Christ is palatable and proclaimable so long as its realization comes at the end of time, and does not impinge too much on the political and social order right now—or on the Church’s responsibility to convert the nations, invigorate their cultures, and transform their laws by the light of the Faith. […]
“What lesson does all of this have for us? The very first expression of the Kingship of Christ over man is found in the natural moral law that comes from God Himself; the highest expression of His kingship is the sacred liturgy, where material elements and man’s own heart are offered to God in union with the divine Sacrifice that redeems creation. Today, we are witnessing the auto-demolition of the Church on earth, certainly in the Western nations, as both the faithful and their shepherds run away and hide from the reality of the Kingship of Christ, which places such great demands on our fallen nature and yet promises such immense blessings in time and eternity. The relentless questioning of basic moral doctrine (especially in the area of marriage and family), the continual watering down of theology and asceticism, the devastation of the liturgy itself—all these are so many rejections of the authority of God and of His Christ. […]
“Those vital and urgent truths for which Pius XI instituted the very feast of the Kingship of Christ—are they still alive, are they still being preached and taught, are they the lifeblood of the Church’s every liturgy, apostolate, pastoral program?” (https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/10/should-feast-of-christ-king-be.html )