Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Purpose Of The Society

Ignatius entering Jerusalem
The two purposes Ignatius had for the mission to Jerusalem, to derive spiritual consolation and to help souls, were preserved in the new mission through Rome to the universal Church.  The apostolic intention, “to help souls,” grew into the fundamental purposes of the Society.  A parallel expression, “the progress of souls,” appears at the beginning of the first version of the Formula of the Institute (Regimini militantis Ecclesiae) in 1540, where the Society’s purpose is given as: “to strive especially for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine and for the propagation of the faith by the ministry of the word, by spiritual exercises and works of charity, and specifically by the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity.”  This intention of helping souls remained in the definitive version of the Formula of the Institute (Exposcit debitum) in 1550, and of course in the Constitutions.  To “help souls” has, of course, their salvation in mind, as stated in the General Examen, where the purpose of the Society is expressed in terms of salvation, first of the members of the Society themselves and then of others:  “with that same grace to labor strenuously in giving aid toward the salvation and perfection of the souls of their neighbors”
Link (here) to read the entire work by Fr. Matthew Monnig, S.J.  
Photo (source)

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