“You are well aware that almost the whole human race is today allowing itself to be driven into two opposing camps, for Christ or against Christ. The human race is involved today in a supreme crisis, which will issue in its salvation by Christ, or in its dire destruction. (Pius XII, Evangelii Praecones, 1951)
Jesus Christ is Lord of my life!
“Jesus Christ is LORD!” ‒ this sums up the driving force behind our Ignatian identity and mission.
To acknowledge Jesus Christ as one’s Lord has a nuance of meaning that is different from acknowledging His divinity.
A man can assent to the truth that Christ is God without being polarized in his thinking and acting by Him.
But when Christ utterly dominates a man’s mind and heart and actions then he can cry out “Jesus Christ is Lord!” because Jesus Christ has become his Lord!
To the degree that Jesus is Lord of the Ignatian’s life, he fulfills the first and greatest commandment: “”‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37)
In the measure in which the Ignatian freely empowers the Lordship of Christ to ignite his heart he fulfills his mission: the honor of God, the salvation of souls, and the uncompromising pursuit of both according to the pristine spirit of the Gospel embodied in the Church’s Tradition.
Jesus is Lord of the Ignatian’s Heart
“Jesus is Lord”! When the Ignatian proclaims with his lips and in his heart (Rom 10:9-10) he utters the truth that seals his existence decisively, configuring his patterns of thought and channeling his action.
To him, the Lord of the Cosmos, the “Word through whom all things were made” (quote prologue), the “Big Banger who banged out the big bang”, the Ignatian looks as the One in whom all reality – cosmos, society, individual hearts and mind – converge to find origin, meaning and purpose.
Towards him, Crucified on the Hill of Calvary, the Ignatian looks as the One who has resolved the great problem and tragedy of all cosmic and individual reality, the source of all pain, suffering, death, evil – sin. He is the Rescuer, the Liberator, the Savior, the One who has landed in the enemy-occupied territory of the World under the satanic dictatorship.
Hence, the Ignatian recognizes that to Him he owes…everything!
Hence, for Him “with an undying love” (Eph 6:24) the Ignatian resolves to live.
His eyes see his Lord in all of the cosmos: in the life that pulsates within him – every breath that he breathes; every tissue and limb and muscle of his body; every neuron and power of thought; and all his energies. In nature surrounding him – stars and ocean, sunlight and dawn, the buds of spring and the colored woodlands of autumn, the haze of summer and the sparkling snows of winter.
Hence, Jesus is Lord of All and all: He and He alone has total rights over all that is and all that has been and all that ever will be. No exceptions. Of individuals, of society, of the cosmos.
Therefore for the Ignatian intimate is the conviction of the truth of the apostle’s words: “Every knee shall bow” (Philippians 2:9-11)
This is the ultimate meaning of history. The horizons of history begin and end with the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the Big Bang “when all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3) to the Second and Final Coming of Christ at the end of the world, “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13).
At this climax of cosmic history, the Lord Jesus will rescue His own from the divine wrath (1 Thess 1:10) since all those who reject Him are cursed (1 Cor 16:22)., destroying all social powers that opposed His reign (2 Thess 2:8) and uniting His members to himself without any further possibility of separation (2 Thess 2:1).
Mission to Individual Souls and to Society
Therefore, this interval of time between the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus and His Second Coming has one raison d’etre, one ultimate purpose: to proclaim that He is Lord and that every knee, whether of individuals or society, must bend before Him.
Not just individuals but society.
Society must bend its knees before Jesus as Lord and accept that He reign as the soul of all its laws and institutions.
Catholics today just as the first Christians of ancient Rome who lived in a society whose coins bore inscriptions such as “[Emperor] Nero, the lord of the whole world” are called to defy the reigning dictatorship in the same way by proclaiming that Jesus alone is Lord.
For that is what He commanded: “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:18)
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 ‒ is pursued on two levels that are inseparably connected: that of the individual and that of society.
God is God, Creator and Lord of all reality, not only of individuals but also of society which must accordingly honor His Sovereign Majesty. Moreover, no man lives as an isolated individual but in a society that either helps or hinders the salvation of its members since none is ever neutral in regard to God’s honor and moral and religious actions.
Ignatians aspire to live the Lordship of Jesus Christ with the same sense of wonder and vigor characteristic of first Christians like Saints Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome.
We aspire to do no more and no less ‒ to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord of both individuals and society in the third millennium “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2)
And the times certainly are present a great opportunity for in the midst of the society ruled by the “Dictatorship of Relativism” there are so many who know in their hearts that truth exists and who desire to know the most important and fundamental truths, the truths that save the soul of man.
The most important foundation of foundations for the individual and society is to recognize that God is God!
Man exists for one ultimate purpose: to know, love, and adore God during his brief lifetime on Earth in order to adore Him for undying ages eternally in Heaven.
Consequently for man to focus on himself as the center of reality either intellectually or emotionally or both, either as an individual, or as a collectivity in society through secularism, whether explicit or implicit (through the denial of the duty of society to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ) is nothing less than blasphemy, a horrendous insult to the honor of God, and, depending on the normal conditions for guilt, grave peril for the salvation of the soul.
As Pope Saint Pius X declared:
“Society cannot be set up unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants.” (Pope Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique)
The same pope rejected the anti-Christian notion of a new world order and a new world religion based on the ideology behind the French Revolution of a liberty, equality, and fraternity which would, under government domination of social life, be enforced as stark individualism, equality of outcome instead of equality of opportunity, denial of all distinctions of roles in society especially that of sexual identity as exclusively male and female, family, fatherhood, motherhood, child-parent relationships.
“[If] “the highest possible peak of well being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress towards the ideal civilization.” (Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique?)
The recognition of the Lordship of Christ requires recognition of the Catholic Church as divinely founded by Him to be the authoritative interpreter of the divine laws. As Pope Pius XI stated in 1922 in his encyclical, Ubi Arcano Dei, which dealt with “the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ”,
“[The Holy Catholic Church is] “by divine institution the sole depository and interpreter of the ideals and teachings of Christ… she alone possesses in any complete and true sense the power effectively to combat that materialistic philosophy which has already done and, still threatens, such tremendous harm to the home and to the state…. [she] is able to set both public and private life on the road to righteousness by demanding that everything and all men become obedient to God…” (Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei)