… to the full extent of its strength and competence
Given globalization and the world’s instantaneous communication capabilities anyone interested in the cultivation of the faith might understandably wonder why two millennia after Christianity’s founding this “universal” religion isn’t universally embraced. There are, of course, regions of the world where the good news of the Gospel has not reached or has not been permitted to be preached. But in those countries where the Christian presence is felt, why do some reject it?, And, why are so many others Christian in name only? .
Anyone in this category yearning for the challenge of inspiration and the risk of fulfillment would do well to acquaint himself with some modern day Loyolas.
Several reasons suggest themselves. Some people are so caught up in materialism that the “spiritual” dimension of their lives goes unexamined. Eventually, perhaps, ennui may jolt them out of their solipsism into a belief in some power superior to themselves.
Others who are more thoughtful might be put off by what they perceive to be the limiting prohibitions of established religion. For these it may be that their hearts are eventually opened to the Gospel by the discovery that fulfillment comes not in avoiding the bad but in embracing the good.
But, there is a third group of “unbelievers,” individuals who having been introduced to Christianity but reject it because they find discipleship dull. These are thinking people, people who want to make a difference with their lives. But, because their exposure to Christianity is limited or watered down, they find in it no challenge to their romantic idealism and no call for their full commitment. They do not associate concepts such as heroic virtue, nobility, and self-sacrifice with the faith.
Though they could relate to it, they are unfamiliar with the reality of metanoia, that change of spirit that occurs when a casual believer dares to plumb the depths and history of the faith, much like what the young soldier Ignatius Loyola experienced as he read the Lives of the Saints. Christianity for them is nothing more than a reasonably demanding and traditional web of beliefs that – successfully or otherwise – purports only to hold society together. It is not a rallying cry, a call to arms, or a trumpet blast that shakes them from the status quo and spurs them on in a shared campaign to change the world.
Their understanding of Christianity as a tepid and anodyne engagement is, of course, regrettably underdeveloped. Anyone in this category yearning for the challenge of inspiration and the risk of fulfillment would do well to acquaint himself with some modern day Loyolas. There are many examples.
One group exhibiting this rousing charism is Pax Romana ICMICA.MIIC – the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (www.icmica-miic.org). Founded over 60 years ago, this world-wide organization which is now operative in over 80 countries is, as its website states, “a lay Catholic movement composed of professionals and intellectuals with a spirituality of action (italics added) to the service of human dignity and the common good in human society. Its members, as professionals and intellectuals, seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God through their life and their commitment in the various contexts in which they are present…”
Some of the priorities of Pax Romana ICMICA are: promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue, human rights and sustainable human development, migration, eradication of all forms of poverty and injustice, the empowerment of civil society and the strengthening of the presence of the laity in Church and in society. Members work closely with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the Pontifical Council for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue. They also maintain a close working relationship with the Permanent Observers of the Holy See to the United Nations.
A global network of ideas, insights and commitment based on a Christian vision and mission, Pax Romana is essentially a social movement for empowerment, advocacy and solidarity for a peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.
Committed to carrying out its mission “to the full extent of its strength and competence,” Pax Romana demonstrates that those Christians (and others) seeking the fulfillment of maximum challenge will find it in the energetic and universal advance of the Kingdom.