The Last Word
Religious institutes and the State
“And the Lord said to Ananias: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts. 9:15).
St. Paul’s mission is a beautiful description of what religious institutes have done over the last twenty centuries all over the world. “To carry His Name,” to bring the knowledge and the love of Christ to all nations, first by their example, but also by the multiplicity of works that contemplative and active Orders excel in. We can never underestimate the role of these consecrated souls for the civil society. Here is how Pope Leo XIII described it:
“They have had the merit to form and embellish the minds by the teaching of sacred and profane sciences and to increase by brilliant and lasting works the patrimony of fine arts. While their doctors illustrated the universities by the depth and extension of their knowledge, while their houses became the refuge of divine and human knowledge and, in the shipwreck of civilization, saved of an assured ruin the masterpieces of ancient wisdom, many other religious were penetrating inhospitable regions, marshlands or impenetrable forests, and drying out them, clearing them, braving all fatigues and all perils. They cultivated souls at the same time as the soil, they brought around their monasteries and in the shadow of the Cross populations which became villages or flourishing cities, governed with meekness, where agriculture and industries sprang out” (Dec. 23, 1900).
Contrary to the allegations of uselessness and harmfulness, religious, even the contemplatives, have rendered and still render multiple services to the civil society. Monks have saved Europe from barbary, military orders have defended it, at all times religious have been the leaven of true civilization. In the State, they raise the morality, order, and prosperity, especially by works of education of charity. They have truly contributed to the prestige of Christian Nations.
When we pray for vocations, we are truly praying for the Social Kingship of Christ.
Oremus! “Mitte, Domine, operarios in messem tuam!—Send, Lord, workers into Thy harvest!”
Fr. Daniel Couture