“The value of tradition to the social body is immense. The veneration for practices, or for authority, consecrated by long acceptance, has a reserve of strength which cannot be obtained by any novel device.” (Rear-Admiral Alfred T. Mahan, National Review, March 1902)
The Greatest Lovers of Tradition: the Saints
The ancient liturgy of the Roman Rite and other venerable traditions are venerated by the Society of Ignatians.
In their hearts, Ignatians hold a chivalric respect for their forefathers in the Mystical Body of Christ, these men and women who had such an ardent sense of how to live the Catholic Faith that they handed down the Catholic truths and customs intact, generation after generation, until it reached us.
What gratitude fills our hearts just to think of them! What veneration as we reenact the customs, pronounce the words, read the texts, see the art, sculptures, architecture that sprang from their Spirit-assisted, faith-filled creativity!
With memories enriched by Tradition, our creativity and audacity to continue building and extending the Church thus intensifies.
It is in the footsteps of the saints, the saintly, and the truly Catholic-minded of our forefathers that we follow when we venerate Tradition and its traditions.
It is remarkable how the great reformers of the Church throughout history although revolutionary in their accomplishments have never been overthrowers of Tradition and venerable traditions. Rather, they have acted as counter-revolutionaries in the sense not of wanting “a contrary revolution, but the contrary of revolution” (Joseph de Maistre, Considérations sur la France)
The great reformers such as Benedict of Aniane, the leaders of the Cluny movement ‒ the saintly abbots Odo, Majolus, Odilo and Hugh ‒ Dominic and Francis and Norbert, sixteenth century reformers such as Philip Neri with his Oratory, Ignatius Loyola with the Spiritual Exercises, Anthony Zaccaria through his foundation of the Theatines, Charles Borromeo with his promotion of seminaries for priestly training: all sealed their efforts with a burning love for the Church’s Tradition and traditions and with an undeterredness to bring them to the hearts of their contemporaries using the most effective methods possible.