The Society of Ignatians spreads Catholicism – the Catholic Faith in its integrity along with all of its inbuilt dynamism for the creation of culture and civilization, a dynamism that has already showed its awe-inspiring grandeur in two millennia of intellectual, socio-political, architectural, artistic and musical achievements.
For Catholicism is intrinsically and dynamically social and this social dimension has no limits – it is global in its thrust, in obedience to the nature of love and in fulfillment of Our Lord’s final command: “Go baptize all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)
Catholicism is therefore a unity of concentric circles:
- Interior, personal, supernaturally-originated transformation of the heart of man into a Christian identity
- transformation of all dimensions of human existence by inspiring and configuring them through the truths of the Catholic Faith
- pro-convert evangelization
- and the creation of a civilization with a Catholic soul
The Divine Blueprint for the Church: “To Unite All Things Under Christ”
St. Paul synthesized the Lord of History’s plan for the cosmos with these words:
“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1: 7-10)
To unite all things under Christ! The original Greek verb, translated here as “unite” that was used by St. Paul in this text was “ἀνακεφαλαιόομαι” which, etymologically, means “to bring under the headship of”, to “recapitulate”, to encompass and unify realities by subordinating elements to one primary element.
To recapitulate all in Christ! This, in a nutshell, is the mission of the Church! As one of the great popes of history expressed it:
“ ‘To restore all things in Christ’ has always been the Church’s motto, and it is especially Our Own during these fearful moments through which we are now passing.
‘To restore all things’ – not in any haphazard fashion, but ‘in Christ’; and the Apostle adds, ‘both those in the heavens and those on the earth’.
‘To restore all things in Christ’ includes not only what properly pertains to the divine mission of the Church, namely, leading souls to God, but also what We have already explained as flowing from that divine mission, namely, Christian civilization in each and every one of the elements composing it.
“Since We particularly dwell on this last part of the desired restoration, you clearly see, Venerable Brethren, the services rendered to the Church by those chosen bands of Catholics who aim to unite all their forces in combating anti-Christian civilization by every just and lawful means.
“They use every means in repairing the serious disorders caused by it. They seek to restore Jesus Christ to the family, the school and society by re-establishing the principle that human authority represents the authority of God.
“They take to heart the interests of the people, especially those of the working and agricultural classes, not only by inculcating in the hearts of everybody a true religious spirit (the only true fount of consolation among the troubles of this life) but also by endeavoring to dry their tears, to alleviate their sufferings, and to improve their economic condition by wise measures.
“They strive, in a word, to make public laws conformable to justice and amend or suppress those which are not so.
“Finally, they defend and support in a true Catholic spirit the rights of God in all things and the no less sacred rights of the Church. (Pope St. Pius X, Il Fermo Proposito, June 11, 1905)
Under the gaze of Christ Crucified and Risen, Lord of History, we resolve to give our utmost for His highest in striving to fulfill this mission, a mission already set forth in Our Lord’s last command to bring the Gospel not only to individuals but to societies:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Catholicism, therefore, as the one true religion, the religion of Him who as “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” revealed that “God is love” (1 John 4:9) can never be a religion limited to time, place, nation or culture; it can never be exclusive either of persons or of dimensions of the person.
It is called to create “the new man” in Christ and the new world order in Christ, to prolong the mission of the Rescuer of mankind who came to deliver both individuals and societies from “the dominion of darkness…[in whom alone] we have redemption…[because] all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together… For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:13-20)
The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is the mystical prolongation of Christ’s action throughout the millennia, acting through the sacraments, doctrine, and discipline. Through the transformation of the individual soul into Christlikeness by purification from sin, supernaturally-driven powers of creativity are unleashed for the establishment of Catholic culture and civilization, changing every dimension of man’s existence and consequently decisively influencing his socio-political-cultural activities.
Ignatians Spread the Holistic Unity of Catholicism: The Catholic Faith, Catholic Culture, And Catholicism As The Soul Of Society
Catholicism is not an esoteric, individualist, private religiosity to be lived on the peripheries of society.
By divine mandate it is both deeply interior and personal as well as social and cosmopolitan.
The truths of the Catholic Faith, due to their divine origin, have their own awesome dynamism that brings forth new life wherever it is lived. This shows itself, firstly, in the transformation of individual hearts and minds and, secondly, in the strengthening of the natural institutions that make up the fabric of society: marriage, the family, the natio or extended family, and society as a whole.
Such occurred a millennium ago in the first Catholic civilization, Christendom.
Such can occur again, under the guidance of Divine Providence, when Catholic priests and laity shoulder our mission, even if ‒ how well we are aware! ‒ that it will be a project that will outlive us, requiring centuries of combat due to the opposition it will surely face.
Genuineness: Coherent with our Catholic Identity!
What is required is coherence. Our thinking and our acting are called to be coherent with the divinely revealed truths of Our Lord Jesus Christ formulated in the Catholic Faith.
This implies unifying all of man’s dimensions, both personal and social whereby the truths that God has revealed about man’s purpose and destiny function as the principles for man’s “private” and “public” action.
As Pope Leo XIII stated in Immortale Dei:
“It is unlawful to follow one line of conduct in private life and another in public, respecting privately the authority of the Church, but publicly rejecting it; for this would amount to joining together good and evil, and to putting man in conflict with himself; whereas he ought always to be consistent, and, never, in the least point, nor in any condition of life to swerve from Christian virtue.”
This is the moral coherence that is necessary for man’s interior unity, a unity willed by God in order for man to attain the ultimate unity for which we exist: to be united with the Blessed Trinity in the Beatific Vision for the eternity of eternities.