CCHA Report, 13 (1945-46), 57-70
A. JOHN O'MEARA, B.A., LL.B.
There are Those of the Children of Men to whom one is as mightily drawn as is drawn by the winged winds of the world, great Destiny Herself. Their words, their gestures and their deeds are the very breath of Life and of such are the Companions, the soldier Saints of Loyola, who have covered the face of the world with their self-sacrifice and matchless daring in the service of Christ. The Spirit against which the Companions have striven and against which they shall never cease to strive until the last Awful Day, is that of this world which has never lost the desire of its Evil Heart to accomplish the destruction of man and to rob him of the reward of Paradise. This fearful contest, between the fallen Morning Stair and the Heirs of the Exile, began deep, deep within the Well of Time and at an hour appropriate to the scheme of things the Magnificent Mission of the Companions burst upon the world in a never ending succession of sublimely heroic exploits dedicated to the eternal happiness of The Children of Men and to the greater glory of God.
Since the descendants of Cain disappeared into the mountains of Gog and Magog, much has happened as Man has noted and scarred and sometimes stained his passing along the corridors of Time. The unfolding Ages have been witness to the birth, the rise and the fall of many a proud dominion of Power and Arrogance, watching the cultures blossom and hear fruit, only in the end to harden into civilization which invariably usher in the concluding years of refined Barbarism.
They have sat on the benches and in the stalls of amphitheatre and arena without number and gazed on the spectacle of humanity's striving towards what seemed to be nought but the dreamless dust from which it had sprung. Across an ever expanding stage, they saw Thothmes III, Napoleon of the dawn world, carry his power in 15 terrible campaigns, from the headwaters of the Blue and White Nile to the Euphrates and beyond and watched the tide sweep back with the Tiglath-pilesers, the Sargons and Sennacherib, to claim the spoil of Tyre and Memphis, the loot of Thebes and Babylon. Came the worshippers of fire to set the Peacock Throne upon the Tigris and compel all men, from Saharan sands to the mountain's of Echbatana, to bow before Cyrus and the Magi. All this they saw and more. The barbarian still slumbered in the Hercynian forest, yet the infant West was striving. The Hellespont, Marathon and then the god-like Alexander, striding with his phalanx towards the rising sun, bearing with him the blessings of Greek culture; but the benefits which the Acropolis may have deigned to shower upon Asia did little to enoble Man. As sudden as was its appearance and as spectacular as was its flight across the firmament, the meteor of Philip's mighty son was to vanish into the disintegration of his Empire, leaving but the ordinary of confusion and the babel of contending voices.
It is well for the moral pilgrim to reflect on the transitory nature of mere human effort, for hardly had two (2) centuries elapsed since the fateful field of Arbela, when the fates which preside over the destinies of men beheld the genius that had been Hellas glittering in reflected glory from the Alban Hills. The mightiest manifestation of material power that possibly shall ever be known had now spread its iron dominion over all, and the roads of the world were, for centuries, to know the measured tread of the legions as the imperial eagles of Rome screamed false promises to the world.
It was at this zenith of mortal achievement, when the heirs of the Scipios and Metelli were subjecting mankind to the sway of absolute authority, that the event came to pass, which shock the world to its foundations and transformed the meaning of Life for as many who would but halt by the wayside and quench their thirst in the waters of Immortality. As the paths of history turned away from the past, they started to fill with the feet of many peoples from many lands, of differing races, customs and traditions, who, having heard the good tidings and discarding their old fabulous gods, their idolatries and superstitions or just the meaninglessness and hopelessness of their days, were travelling to the consecrated stream which would bear them to Eternal Victory - and yet, at the outset, this event that transcends all things through all ages was noted only as a passing incident in the teeming day. of the Roman Imperium: a letter from Publius Lentullus, President of Judea, to the Senate at Rome; a Roman Governor washing his hands for the remainder of this days, haunted by the memory of Truth and his own question.
The History of Man, that is without the Knowledge of the True God and His Holy Ordinance, presents a picture of woe, indeed, with the nations, their systems and institutions, like so many frail craft, adrift on a great sea, blown willy-nilly by the winds, some perishing utterly in the tempests, others cast up like so much shipwrecked debris on the shores of Time, whilst but a very very few plunge on through the squalls and the calms by virtue of their mariners and the iron bands at the helm. My listeners, we who, in these days, through the Mystery of the Love of God, live in the Faith of Peter, so jealously preserved for us by the unbroken succession of the Apostolic Pontificate, know this to be true - that, during the 4,000 years or more which transpired from the Exile till the time when the Law was fulfilled, nothing which occurred in the affairs of men was of much profit but the Trust of the Patriarchs, the Call of Abraham, the Awful Tryst on Sinai and the long watches in the Night by the heroes and the prophets of Israel as they kept the Word given to Moses and awaited the Coming of Immanuel, the Master of Life and Death.
Now after it had all been accomplished and The Divine Lamb, offering Himself up on the Hill of Perpetual Mystery, had paid man's Monstrous Debt and opened the Gates of Paradise to His beloved creatures, the very face of History changed. Those first Christians, the salt of Jacob's Household, had gazed on the Ineffable Countenance of Him who is one with the Father and before the Ascension the Command had been given. By the time Sixtus I. eighth in line from the beloved Peter ascended the martyr chair of the Supreme Pontiff, the Holy and Apostolic Faith was blazing from the Eternal City and illuminating both Africa and Asia.
It was not the outward scheme of things that changed. It was the significance of Life itself that had been affected. The Prince of this world would still encompass all mankind with his works, more subtle, more ingenious, best calculated to open wider the grisly gulf of damnation, but his power to mortally wound had been immeasurably lessened. True, Satan would continue to accommodate himself at the council tables of the great and his form would float in the miasma of numberless battlefields. In one ghastly attempt after the other, he would assault the Rock Itself to the end of Time. He would darken the minds of men and in the New Order would promote the insidious weapons of error, schism and heresy. His poisonous visitations dropt the emissaries of discord in all places - Ebionites, Basilidians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Sabellians, Manechiens and Arians. The chaos of creed ranged from the confounding of the Son with the Father to the denial of the Sons Divinity - while the conception of the earth's eternity and the idea of the two principles, exotics from the East, contributed to the general frenzy. Eutyches confuting Nestorius and his assertion of the two persons was to precipitate his own doctrinal falsehood of the one nature. Satan excelled himself. But on the approach of each fresh peril, the Champions of the One, Holy and Apostolic Faith rushed to arms and the Standard of Christ flew in Triumph from the embattled walls of Jerusalem, Hippo, Nice, Ephesus Chalcedon, Constantinople and Rome.
The Rock endured as had been so divinely promised and the onrushing centuries beheld the awakened barbarians filling the West with the worship of the True God. Likewise Dissension grew apace, as Schism, proud princes and the relapse of human nature buffetted Beloved Peter and his brethren.
Came the terrible 16th century and the world was entering the Age of the Apocalypse. There may be many human reasons why God cleft Christendom in twain, but then human reason is a poor substitute for His Wisdom. The heart of Man was sick; his sense of values was rocking in the balance and his eyes were blurred with the gross iniquities of the time. The new curse of Nationalism was in the ascendant and the general corruption of the age both secular and ecclesiastical, was made the reason and in some cases the excuse for denying the validity of the Faith which had possessed the hearts and the souls of the Children of Light at a time when Cæsar's household wore the purple and St. Ireneus sat at the feet of the last of the Apostles.
It is not here the purpose either to effect an academic inquiry into the many and various reasons or causes which set in motion the tremendous revolution of the 16th century known as the Protestant Reformation or to evaluate the quality and the merit of the chief reformers themselves. Regardless of the acknowledged sincerity of many of those who were the guiding spirits of the Reformation, we are able to say! in all charity that in attempting to correct many of the vile abuses which had found their way deep into the flock, they failed to realize that they were attacking not so much these same abuses, but the fundamentals of the Faith which had been taught by the early Fathers and which had in 15 centuries withstood waves of heresy basically more formidable than their own. The world had ever been in a state of moral flux and on many an occasion in those first 1500 years the Church and Christendom had been engulfed in great seas of degeneration and violence as Satan set the equilibrium tottering and the passions of man ran amok - but always there had been Reformers - great Hildebrand, Dominic and Francis, who waged war mightily against the prevailing immorality of the day without tearing from the altars the Sacrifice which had been offered up in the first centuries by a score or more of martyred Popes and which had been the guiding Light of such heroes as Ambrose, Cyprian, Chrysostom and Nazianzen.
Amid the general consternation and bewilderment of this decisive age, God, in His mercy, sent His irresistible Call winging into heart of an unknown man, whose name was to become legend in the world. As the chivalry of France sulked back from the Walls of Pamplona they left, among the dead and the dying, a grievously wounded soldier - his name was Inigo de Loyola. He was of noble blood but apart from this doubtful distinction, most ordinary and merely one of the many who served under the banners of Great Spain. His ambitions were worldly and his greatest desire was to serve his country and to win praise before his Queen. With the pride of Lucifer he contemplated his damaged leg as he lay recuperating. The wound healed but it left him with a deformity and in order that he might recover the shapeliness of this limb he had himself placed upon the rack, whereon he underwent excruciating torture for the mere sake of his pride. In order to pass the time, Ignatius as we shall call him, turned to reading, but the only books available were the Lives of the Saints and Holy Writ and it was at this juncture that the mind of this very material man was captured in the Light of Divine Providence and he understood the vanity and the futility of dedicating his life to the conquest of a few miserable square miles when before him, in endless expansion, stretched the wide vista, of humanity, waiting to be vanquished for Christ.
The leg of the future General of the Society of Jesus never regained its comely shape but the shape of events which were to transpire down through the Ages to come, more than made up for this physical deficiency. The response of Ignatius to the Voice of his Maker was spontaneous. There followed years of penance, reflection and long hours spent in prayer; of wanderings through the days and the nights in which lie stormed heaven for the aid which he knew he must possess.
It was during this formative period in his spiritual transformation that he compiled with unsurpassed logic the famous "Exercises" and after prosecuting a fantastic pilgrimage to the Holy Land and at an age when most men of his station were conquering the world for Spain, he decided to pursue a course of studies at the University of Paris and to that great Institution of Learning he went, taking with him his "Exercises" which were to become a veritable book of human destiny. At Paris he completed his studies, not without great and painstaking effort, for he was not specially gifted as a scholar. It was then that the paths of two men crossed his. One of these was devoted to study whilst the other believed that the contents of a jug of wine contained more worth than any good book; both of them considered that their roommate constituted a nuisance if not a menace to their young lives, for he was continually attempting to set in motion the vital forces which he knew lay within them; both of these men, for their own separate reasons, repulsed Ignatius but he persisted and by kindness and sympathy and by filling their empty purses with funds which he had begged in the streets of Paris, he finally won them both over to God, to himself and the great Adventure. The names of his companions were Martin Faber and Francis Xavier. Others joined them and the little Band took a solemn oath to dedicate themselves to the service of God and His Holy Church.
The state of affairs in Christian Europe was deplorable; in many parts the people were losing all heart, if they had not already lost it. Confidence in the clergy had reached an all time ebb, the Dominicans, Franciscans and Augustinians alone retaining a certain contact with the people. In the Eternal City itself, the great Cardinal Caraffa, afterwards Paul IV, appeared personally in one deserted pulpit after the other to thunder out his comminations to the forlorn people. In southern Italy many of the inhabitants had even reverted to paganism. Beyond the Alps individual interpretation of Revealed Truth appeared to be sweeping all before it - it seemed as if the world was ripe for the last dreadful harvest. Into this swirling vortex of collapsing faith and moral degeneration came the little Band of the Companions. The incredible feats of self-sacrifice and heroism which they performed in those early days of the infant Society beggar description. They stood in the deserted pulpits and filled chapel, church and cathedral with their passionate eloquence, so that the crowds who flocked to hear these strange men were drawn irresistibly back to God. They shattered the idols which profaned the Holy Altars; they ministered to the sick and the dying; they went for days without food for the sake of the hungry; they fought a relentless war against the white slave traffic; from the aristocrat who could, with his bejewelled and velvetted lady, trace his lineage back to Otto the Great and farther, to the beggar in the street, the criminal on the scaffold and the wretched harlot, all men were their brothers, trudging the same dusty road which led to the City of the Lord. The fame of their deeds filled the land and their superb example revitalized the entire clergy. The Vicar of Christ constituted the Companions as the Society of Jesus and with their headquarters in the Eternal City the supreme task of conquering the world for Christ began. Ignatius was elected as the first General of the Society of Jesus and almost immediately the Master Plan of conquest was drafted in all its details.
The Saint, with all of his exalted virtues, was a most ordinary man, but he was endowed with a quality of leadership, developed in an extraordinary degree - he was possessed of a logic that out to the root of things with the deftness of a Toledo blade and his was a terrible tenacity of purpose which, for a comparison, one is compelled to turn, if somewhat reluctantly, to the sombre figure of Lenin, apocalyptic symbol of that against which the Companions wage their inexorable crusade. Ignatius understood that it was not enough merely to spread seeds of salvation by means of the accepted, if virtuous practices of humility and devotion to the material and spiritual needs of man, meeting each case or collectivity of cases as they were encountered. If the war against Satan and his Myrmidons were to be prosecuted in the most successful way, the crushing blows must be showered upon Evil from every possible angle and in every conceivable quarter of the globe; the Prince of Darkness was mustering his power for the last great onslaught and it would not be sufficient in the future for the servants of God to be cut down like defenseless sheep in order for the victory to be theirs. The enemy was to be engaged in the most ruthless fashion and as the captains of hell moved their pieces across the chessboard, they were to be checkmated by strokes of sublime strategy until the day when they were driven, amid their infernal curses from the Vision of the Children of Light.
To the ends of the earth - to all men be all things - gentle and kind, brave, indulgent of men's fears and questionings but never indulgent of Evil and at all times resolute and fearless in the service of the Lord - to His Greater Glory for Ever and Ever.
At his command, as at the commands of each of his successors, the Companions of Christ sprang to arms and started to wage a relentless war across the face of the world against the fearsome enemy and for the salvation of the souls of the many.
In Europe they checked the flood tide of the Reformation which was lapping the foothills of the Alps and had even split Catholic France in twain and rolled it back upon itself to the Baltic until it could claim as its almost undisputed bastion but the more northerly parts of that continent.
Eastward lay India the obscure, the unknown wastes of Asia and the legend that was Cathay. Even to reflect upon the conversion of Asia's uncounted millions to the Faith of the Apostles, is a task sufficient to dismay the polite and respectable and to cause knockings in the heart of many an intrepid man, for in this abyss of unrecorded time are to be found social and psychological as well as spiritual obstacles which have proven themselves to be well nigh insurmountable but those of the Companions who followed the path towards the rising sun, knowing the nature of the colossal work to be performed throughout the centuries in these distant parts, decided that the seeds of the Divine Sower should be planted deep within this strange inhospitable soil, in order that with the passage of a thousand years the deathless streams of the Immortal should be coursing back to the Infinite Source of Love.
To the East the Companions followed the trail blazed by the great Xavier, who, in many lands had laboured so mightily for the Love of His Maker and who died in sight of Cathay, waiting for the ships that never came and whose glorious Apostleship was accounted a failure by an unbelieving world. In Japan, the Companions went from the Tea Ceremonies to Martyrdom and the doors to that shadowy kingdom were, by iron decree, to close for centuries. They died, and Fuji-no-Yama was to guard the secret of their Victory as tens of thousands of the Sun Children kept the Faith intact through the long intervening years until the day when the returning Servants of God should hear the glad cry, "Hail to Thee, O Christ".
From the outpost of Goa, where the Portuguese had established themselves in search of trade and commerce, Robert de Nobili, nephew of the illustrious Cardinal Bellarmine, addressed himself, in the most extraordinary way, to the tremendous Work of Salvation. To plant even a few precious seeds in the soil of Hindostan, it would be necessary for the Apostle to employ singular tactics, saving not the Mask of Simulation.
This scion of Europe's nobility acquired a profound knowledge of Brahmanic life and having saturated himself in the lore of the Vedas, appeared at Madura, a Brahmin of the first order. He skillfully made use of an old legend which declared that there had been once four ways leading to the Eternal Truth but that one of these ways had become lost in the remote past. To the astounded men of rank who were attracted to the solitary abode of this strange new Brahmin, de Nobili claimed to be the ambassador of that lost way to Truth, which he declared to be the only Perfect Way, the same being the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the God-Man. The Brahmins of India, naturally, questioned the authenticity of the Apostle and there where those who even denounced him as an impostor; but, when put to the test, the vast knowledge which de Nobili possessed completely overpowered his inquisitors and convinced them that, after all, they had been wrong and he was what he claimed to be, a true Brahmin. Many of the priestly cast were converted to Christianity and after long years of this strange work which evoked the wonder of the Orientals as it precipitated a temporary uproar among the theologians of the West, this famous man ended his mortal days.
There were others of the Companions who performed startling deeds in this part of Asia - Father Barzaous preaching for years at Ormuzd on the Indo-Persian border, to the Moslems on Thursday, to the Jews on Saturday, to the Brahmins on Monday and to the Christians on all other days of the week, whilst Acosta and Calmette appeared in various places under the mask off Yogi and constant Beschi, worthy successor to the great de Nobili, spread the Faith by his incredible office as a Christian Brahmin.
At his exotic palace of Fatephur Sikri, Akbar the Terrible, descendant of Tamerlane and conqueror of Central Asia, hungered after the Vision of Truth and thither at his invitation went Rudolpho Aquaviva, Jerome Xavier, Anthony Montserrat and Benedict Goes. Their learning fascinated the savage conqueror and dismissing all the many votaries of religion who bad gathered at his pleasure, he maintained the Christian priests to be his friends and advisors. They prosecuted their mission at the court of the Great Mogul during the reigns of Akbar and Jehingir and then a Call came from the far East which was to open up one of the most brilliant chapters in the records of the Society of Jesus.
Fathers Matteo Ricci and Valignani had established a mission at Macao, a Portuguese trading concession on the China coast and it was from this town that Father Ricci was to commence an adventure which ultimately led, through twenty heartbreaking years, to the Imperial palace of Sin-ching at Peking.
This wonderful man, who had been the favourite pupil of the great Father Klavius, won the respect, the admiration and the lasting friendship of the learned Mandarins by his amazing capacities in the field of mathematics and astronomy and his reputation, both as a scientist and a holy man of religion spread like wildfire through the aristocracy of Cathay. The door was open to the august presence of the ruler of all mankind and with the Emperor as his jealous sponsor, this child of Loyola was enabled to set up a Sacred College in the Cathayan capital and to have the Word of God preached throughout the land. He died at an advanced age, full of honour, having made the Name and the Worship of The Lord Christ a Thing of veneration. The earthly remains of the holy Doctor Li, as he was known in the Celestial Kingdom, were borne to the grave with all the pomp and respect of which the grateful Ming was capable.
Civil strife and conquest by the Manchu Tatars intervened in the affairs of China but the Mission established by the holy Doctor and his associate Companions endured till the Suppression.
Many famous names adorn the Chinese menology. The East Asiatic front attracted recruits of the most outstanding ability and among those who carried on and expanded the work of the holy Doctor Li, the name of Adam von Schall is conspicious. Following a brief period of persecution in which the missionaries were compelled to return to Macao, they were recalled to the capital by the Emperor, who was facing a crisis from Internal and external foes; von Schall reorganized the military forces of China and instructed the authorities in the casting of cannon. The enemies of the State were defeated and the missionaries were again enabled to pursue their sacred task. The Tatars, whose aid had been solicited by the government in putting down a serious revolt, now wrote finis to the Ming Dynasty and assumed the reins of power over the vast Oriental Empire. Xun-Chi, the first of the new Imperial rulers took von Schall to his heart and in 1650 the first Church was publicly opened and the good Father was made a Mandarin of the highest Order. Personal tragedy overwhelmed Xun-Chi and in the wake of his abdication and retirement to a Buddhist monastery, persecution again darkened the lives of the missionaries and the eminent Father von Schall, loaded with chains, was cast into captivity, to pass to his Eternal Reward, either before or shortly after his liberation.
In 1671 a famous general and maternal nephew of the new Emperor was baptized into the Faith of Christ and the Imperial Manchu, Kang-Hi, known as The Great, restored the Order to its freedom.
During the long reign of the mighty Kang-Hi, a glorious page was written into the records of the Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church. The extraordinary Father Ferdinand Verbiest took the torch from the hands of von Schall and he and his colleagues were found to be indispensable to the great Manchu, who admired and was fascinated by their zeal for Christ and the unparalleled variety of their accomplishments.
In a public address, this Imperial Monarch of the East declared that the religion of Christ was Holy and without Reproach - evidence enough, for the incredulous, of the magnificent work of the Companions.
Pope Innocent XI, in 1681, writing to Father Verbiest an epistle of encouragement, declared that there was "nothing which might not be expected, with the aid of Heaven, from you and men like yourself".
The great influence which Father von Schall had exercised over Kang-Hi in his youth remained with this Son of Heaven throughout his long life. To the ranks of the Companions were now added such men as Fathers Fontenay, Bouvet, Pereyra, Gerbillon, Visdelou, Tachard and many others. Gerbillon and Pereyra were sent by Kang-Hi to the Russian Court as ambassadors and on their return were created Mandarins of the First Order, Father Gerbillon being appointed to head the department of mathematics at Peking. The missionaries became the constant companions of the Emperor, who built a church within the confines of the Imperial palace and who, in 1692, authorized the Servants of God to preach the Faith of Christ throughout the whole Empire.
Father Dominic Parrenin officiated as mediator between the Russian and Chinese governments and while at the Muscovite Court, captivated Peter the Great with his amazing personality. On his return, Kang-Hi raised him to the dignity of Mandarin of the First Order. By indefatigable work such as this, the Companions greatly advanced the Cause of Christ in far off Cathay and hundreds of thousands of converts were baptized into the Communion of the Faithful.
Although, strange as it may seem, Kang-Hi died unconverted, his last days were spent in the company of his beloved friends and from, the lips of this unique man there flowed an endless veneration for the Christian God who was helping him to pass this last hours on earth in peace, as he waited to be joined to his blessed Ancestors.
Under the successors of the Great Kang-Hi, the Companions were subjected on occasion to persecution; but both Yang-cheng and K'ienlung were forced to succumb to the missionaries as the Manchus discovered that not only their personal happiness but the good of their people appeared to lie in the hands of these children of wisdom. When under Yang-cheng, the day grew dark, Father Parrenin's ability stood him in good stead at St. Petersburg and on the news of this diplomatic victory reaching Peking, the Society of Jesus once more obtained its freedom of action.
In the reign of K'ien-lung, we find Fathers Sickelpart, Panzi, Sallusti, Castiglione, Benoît and Brossard carrying the Gospel of the Lord throughout the land.
They rebuilt the summer palace of Yoen-Ming-Yoen embellishing the artistry of their architecture with a witchery of decorative design in glass and metal work. To the astonishment of the grateful Manchu they laid out in the palace grounds a veritable garden of Eden, which the good Fathers studded with artificial lakes and water-courses and drawing on their knowledge of hydraulics, made these beautiful with hundreds of fountains and magic water clocks.
Astronomy, so important to the mind of the Oriental, was made to vie with the refinements of science and engineering to the Greater Glory of God.
Thus was the Faith sown deep in the fertile soil of China and great numbers were gathered in the Fisherman's Net.
As in the Middle and far East, where their unsurpassed devotion to Christ and His Church was emblazoning the Book of Life, so in the Americas, the Companions were leaving a record of achievement which speaks for itself.
From the splendid figure of Father Valdivia, pacifier and liberator of Peru and Chile to the herculean Uguarte, building his "Triumph of the Cross" and sailing with his Lord to the discovery of the Colorado as it flows into the Gulf of California, the gallant story repeats itself as the Standard of Christ is raised from the, Andes to the Sierras.
The exploits of the Companions in the Americas constitute an epic which shall never lose its lustre; whether they were founding a paradise on earth in the vast unknown of greater Paraguay, planting the Faith deep in the land of the Pimas and the Apache, or carrying the Bread of Life to the savage hearts that beat between the Kennebec and the Great Lakes - it is the same marvellous story of Christ's Ambassadors, imitating their Divine Master in all things yea, even to walking into the jaws of death for the salvation of their copper-skinned brothers. From Paraguay, the Parana and the Gran Chaco to Wisconsin, Huronia and the Valley of the Mohawks - the jungles, mountains, plains and forests are saturated with the sweat and the Blood of these soldier-Martyrs of God.
Oh, my listeners in Christ, in this day of the new and refined Barbarism, we know not what the future of the world may hold for us, and though there may be centuries, yea, a thousand years or more before Time shall be fulfilled, yet it is past midday and down the Afternoon there comes a moaning in the wind. Amid the lengthening shadows, the Companions, as ever, are waging their consecrated struggle and are gathering the Grain in the Garden of God. The old antagonist, though baffled and checked on every front, is far from defeated. When "Dominus ac Redemptor" was proclaimed throughout the world, his mocking laughter, filling the highways and byways of Life, sent its obscene echoes into the gleeful hearts of the enemies of Christ. To the twisted minds of many men whom he had perverted into believing that the Blessed Mission of the Companions was as evil as his own, this cruel prank of fate rang out the death knell of the Society of Jesus. For more than a quarter of a century, Satan pitched his camp before the Rock Itself and daily hurled his insults at Beloved Peter while his taunting minions flapt their unclean flight above the Seven Hills.
August 17th, 1773, will ever remain a black day for the children of Light, reminding them of the grisly power still reeking in the arsenals of Satan. That ill begotten date climaxed an insidious campaign, hatched in the chancelleries of Catholic Europe by as unscrupulous a band of rogues as ever cast the devil's dice. Commencing in calumny and vilification, the campaign pursued the relentless course of persecution; the sublime romance of the Paraguayan Reductions was distorted into a sinister plot, whereby the Order, wallowing in temporal power and affluence - so ran the glib lie - was seeking to destroy the authority of Spain and Portugal, while the Indians whom they brutalized, were only awaiting the day of liberation, when the enlightened benevolence of the secular arm would bring these black-robed miscreants to justice. The venemous nature of Pombal, aristocratic butcher that he was, knew no bounds; the saintly Father Malagrida was dragged to the market place in Lisbon and executed like any common felon and the Children of Loyola, herded into the verminous holds of unseaworthy hulks, were expelled from Portugal and her possessions to an infamous exile.
Then came the final years of agony; Clement XIII died a martyr to the cause of Truth. His successor, Clement XIV, was caught up in the tumult which raged for the suppression. The power-drunk wretches who floated in the trough of the great wave of revolution about to engulf the West, belaboured the Vicar of Christ for the end which they desired. The heroic Order, which by the blood of its martyrs and the sweat of its warriors, had planted the Faith in the hearts of many and divers peoples throughout every quarter of the globe, was represented to a dumbfounded generation to be nothing but a gang of conspirators, a horde of pests, who were sowing the seeds of dissension in the hearts of men and striving for the ruin of civilized society; they were a veritable contagion and for the good of mankind should be exterminated.
The unctuous petition which was laid before Clement XIV was signed with the Mark of the Beast and in that Mark could be discerned the names of ministers of State, dignatories of the Church, Jesebels and Pompadours and even one devoutly reluctant Imperial lady. In an evil hour, Clement XIV, in spite of himself, weakened and the notorious Bull was published to the ends of the earth.
They could have fought, these stalwarts of the Faith and many a stout heart would have come to their aid. But true to obedience, their immemorial criterion of virtue, they bowed. to the Will of Almighty God, secure in the Knowledge that He would never desert them. Their numbers dwelt on in various spiritual associations and in one land the authority of a schismatic and in another, the tolerance of an heretic gave them liberty of action and to his everlasting honour the master of Sans Souci, true to his ideal of religious moderation granted them a refuge from the storm. They did not have long to wait; the Revolution, which had for some time been gathering head, broke upon the world. When the skies cleared, few of their inveterate enemies there were who had weathered the fury of the gale, which for the Companions in their scattered groups had been, if anything, a period of spiritual retreat wherein to reflect on the past centuries and to gird their loins for the renewal of the Conflict.
On August 7th, 1814, "Dominos ac Redemption" became but an unpleasant memory amid the pealing of the Bells of Christendom, as the glad tidings of "Solicitude omnium Ecclesiarum" proclaimed to all mankind the reestablishment of the Society of Jesus.
In these our days, the roads of the World are choked with new and strange faces and across the brows of many of these, lightning has left its terrible scar. Along the well-worn avenues of life as in other and as yet untrodden ways, the Society of Jesus strides on, in defense of the Faith and to the conquest of fresh fields for God.
May the Children of Light daily pause in the tense hours which fill the Magnificent Littleness of this World and in the silent grandeur of their souls, offer up a prayer to Christ and the Virgin so that Divine Assistance may ever attend the tireless efforts of the Companions. There is a prayer constantly on the lips of these indomitable watchdogs of The Word and as it passes up in sweet incense before the Throne of Adonai - Oh my listeners, we can he assured that the favour which it receives flows back in great waves of sanctifying strength into the hearts of all those who love God. Whether it arose from the depths of the South American Arcadia, from stately Mandarins offering up the Sacrifice of the Mass in bygone centuries, from those who had dedicated their lives to the everlasting happiness of wretched Pariahs or to the salvation of savages who dwelt in the vast stretches extending between Mount Orizaba and the St. Lawrence waterway or whether in our day or in the future, it goes up from the lips of the Companions as they defend God in scientific laboratories, in the halls of great universities, in the tropics of Ethiopia or on the paths which lead beneath the icy grandeur of the Nanga Parbat past the towering magnificence of Kanjamunjunga towards the solitude of Amne Machin, rearing her snow-capped desolation above the land of the Lamas and no matter what may be its varieties of sound and syllable, this prayer is ever the same - Oh Almighty and Everlasting God, Thou Who didst light the Lamp of Human Destiny so that all men may find the way back to their Eternal Fatherland, help Thy Servant so that he may live and fight and die for Thee; give him strength so that he may accomplish the ends of Thy Will; grant to him a little time within which in many lands and under the changing complexion of other skies, he may labour for the Eternal Happiness of his brothers and his sisters. May Thy servant ask no greater reward than that he serve Thee in Absolute Obedience and that Thy Will be done.
Their ranks are marching as ever, to the battlefronts in every quarter of the globe.
In what may he the final chapter of the Apocalypse, Satan, in desperation now seizes upon the last instrument which he may turn to his fell purpose. Positivism and rationalism he has harnessed to the false conception of Science and with diabolical ingenuity he strives to set this up as a deity before which all man should bow. The sad tale relates how in many instances he has met with transitory success; but in this new theatre as in all the others, the Companions fight on and in every field of impirical knowledge they confound the learned with the handiwork of the Lord. Science in their hands becomes but a curtain which man may lift to scour the unknown of natural phenomena and in the end, as we know, it will prove very little when the humble and the contrite take their places at the Banquet Table of God.
In this very hour many scenes, which would baffle the imagination of the most gifted of men, are re-enacted in the Kingdom - for science and knowledge are but the Playthings of the Creator.
Comes the Lord Christ and as in a dream, I see Him with three, who were once great in this world but who now are just little children and the ineffable One, knowing their everlasting hearts' desire, for at the moment they find themselves in God's great observatory, speaks "Look Beloved of My Father and see My Will be done" - they are Klavius, Adam von Schall and the holy Doctor Li and at His Words they gaze to a point, awesomely sunk in the void, where the Dawn in the Mind of God caresses the Fringe of Creation and lo! Cosmic power bursts forth and cascades in cataclysmic abandon along the frontiers of Existence. The three good Fathers catch their breath and turn in great wonder but Christ and the Virgin are elsewhere. They fall on their knees before the Throne over which the Rainbow plays and where the Ancients and six winged beasts offer up their Eternal Praise and Benediction to Adonai. Eternity fills with unbelievable beauty and from the lips of seraph, power and domination, holy angels and archangels, falls the sound of many waters, "Holy Holy Holy Lord God of Sabaoth" but all that those three little children can say as they gaze, in perfect happiness, into the Mystery of Divine Love, is - Almighty and Everlasting God Who didst light the Lamp of Immortal Destiny, to Thy Greater Glory for Ever and Ever and Ever.