CHAPTER XI: REMEDY FOR PRESENT EVILS
S. So far we have dwelt upon the grave ills of modern Society. It is a depressing spectacle this, of a world sick its own folly. There is surely some remedy by reason of for our troubles.
T. Leo XIII gives a very definite reply to this question. He says: "Such is the secret of the problem. When an organism perishes and corrupts, it is because it has ceased to be under the action of the causes which had given it its form and constitution. To make it healthy and flourishing---again it is necessary to restore it to the vivifying action of those same causes. So society, in its foolhardy effort to escape from God, has rejected the supernatural order and Divine revelation; and it is thus withdrawn from the salutary efficacy of Christianity, which is manifestly the most solid guarantee of order, the strongest bond of fraternity, and the inexhaustible source of all public and private virtue. This sacrilegious divorce has resulted in bringing about the trouble which now disturbs the world. Hence it is the pale of the Church which this lost society must re-enter if it wishes to recover its well-being, its repose, and its salvation" (Apostolic Letter, 19th March, 1902, Review of His Pontificate).
Elsewhere the same Pope has developed the same idea: "From day to day it becomes more and more evident how needful it is that the principles of Christian wisdom should be ever borne in mind, and that the life, the morals, and the institutions of nations should be wholly conformed to them. From the fact of these principles having been disregarded, mischiefs so vast have accrued that no right-minded man can face the trials of the present time without grave solicitude, nor contemplate the future without serious alarm " (Encyclical Letter "Sapientiae Christianae," 10th January, 1890).
S. A return to the Church is the only remedy. Quite so, but how effect this result?
T. Christ, in coming into the world, and God, in entrusting Him with His mission, had in view the salvation of peoples, and this throughout all ages. Our Divine Master has said, "I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world " (Matt. 28:20). Now what was the state of the world at our Lord's birth? All nations, save only the Jews, were given up to error, to irreligion, to Pagan immorality, in a word, the human race was a prey to sin, and was, as it were, lost in it. Man, who owed to God adoration, love, satisfaction, and gratitude, which must be the work of prayer and Divine grace, could only look forward to the punishments to be inflicted by God's justice. What does Christ do? He wishes to make man capable of doing his duty to God worthily. Alone among creatures, the God-Man, Christ-Jesus, possesses this power in Himself. Upon Himself He takes the whole sum of the sin of the human race, for which He makes reparation, and He gives man His Own power of adoring worthily, of making suitable reparation and of worthily offering prayer and thanksgiving. Jesus accepts death; Justice is satisfied and the world is saved. Nations prostrate themselves before the Crucifix. With Constantine the Cross is enthroned. Christ, as King, rules the destinies of nations. By His immolation and His sacrifice Jesus Christ saved the world. Who can rescue the world from the evils it now suffers? Only Jesus Christ, through the application, alike to nations and individuals, of the merits of His Passion and death, can save the universe from its present great evils.
S. That I can well understand, since Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. What, however, I do not precisely grasp is the manner in which the merits of our Saviour's Passion are applied both to individuals and to nations.
T. On this point we must understand and put into practice the significant words of St. Paul, "I fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His Body, which is the Church" (Col. 1:24). These words of the great Apostle are full of import.
To say that the Passion of Jesus Christ is in any way defective would be a lamentable error. Jesus Christ our Lord has given full and complete satisfaction for all men, past, present and to come. He was not satisfied with taking on Himself the individual sins of men; He was not satisfied with bearing the burden of the great social sin which consists in the injustice and insult to God which we have described above. He truly took upon Himself the sin of the human race, the sum total of its sin. According to St. Paul's doctrine God constituted Jesus sin---"Him that knew no sin, for us He hath made sin, that we might be made the justice of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus Christ is Head of fallen humanity, so that He constitutes with it one Mystical Person. By reason of the mysterious reality of this union, the sins of the human race touched Jesus in Gethsemani and on Calvary precisely in so far as He was identified with humanity. 1n virtue of His union with us, because we form one body with Him, Our Lord saw Himself laden with sin in the sight of His Father. In virtue of our oneness with Him, "although the plentiful redemption of Christ abundantly forgives all our offences (cf. Col. 2:13), yet by that wonderful disposition of the Divine wisdom whereby we have to fill up in our body those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, for His Body which is the Church (cf. Col. 1:24), we can, nay, we must, add our own praise and satisfaction to the praise and satisfaction which Christ gave to God in the name of sinners. It should be remembered, however, that the expiatory value of our acts depends solely upon the bloody sacrifice of Christ, a sacrifice which is renewed unceasingly in an unbloody manner on our altars, for 4 one is the victim, one and the same is He who now offers through the ministry of His priests, the same Who offered Himself, on the Cross, the manner only of the offering being different' (Council of Trent, Sess. 22, c. 2). For this reason, with the august sacrifice of the Eucharist must be united the immolation of the ministers and also of the rest of the faithful, so that they, too, may offer themselves a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God' (Rom. 12:1). Hence, St. Cyprian says 'that the sacrifice of the Lord is not offered with its complete effect of sanctification unless our offering and our sacrifice correspond with the Passion' (Ep. 63, n. 38r)" (Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Universal Reparation to the Sacred Heart, 8th May, 1928). 
S. Apparently you mean that all Catholics are associated with Christ's redemptive work?
T. This is the mystery revealed by St. Paul when he tells us that he is accomplishing for the Church a work which is linked up with the, Passion of Christ Jesus---that Passion undergone for the salvation of the whole world. Pius XI exposes clearly this doctrine: "Therefore, the Apostle admonishes us that, 'bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus' (2 Cor. 4:10), buried with Christ and planted together in the likeness of His Death (cf. Rom. 6:4-5), we should not only crucify our flesh with the vices and concupiscences (cf. Gal. 5:24), 'flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world' (2 Peter. 1:4), but that 'the life also of Jesus should be made manifest in our mortal flesh' (2 Cor. 4:11), and being made partakers of His Eternal Priesthood we should 'offer gifts and sacrifices for sins' (Heb. 5:1). Those whom our High-Priest Jesus Christ uses as His ministers, to offer to God a clean oblation 'in every place from the rising of the sun even to the going down' (Malach. 1:11), are indeed partakers in that sacred priesthood, in that office of offering satisfaction and sacrifice. But not they alone; the whole body of Christians, rightly called by the Prince of the Apostles a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood' (1 Peter 2:5), must offer sacrifice for sins, both for themselves and for the whole human race, just as every priest' taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God' (Heb. 5:11).
"The more perfectly our oblation and our sacrifice corresponds to the sacrifice of Christ---in other words, the more we sacrifice our self-love and our passions, and crucify our flesh with that mystical crucifixion of which the Apostle speaks---the more abundant will be the fruits of propitiation and expiation that we shall receive for ourselves and others. For a wonderful bond unites all the faithful with Christ---a bond similar to that existing between the head and the other members of the body. Likewise that mysterious Communion of Saints, which our Catholic faith professes, not only unites individuals and nations together, but joins them to 'the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body being compactly and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of each part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity' (Eph. 4:15-16). This was the prayer that Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and men, made to His Father on the eve of His Death: (I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one' (John 17:23). In like manner, then, as consecration professes and confirms union with Christ, so expiation, while it purifies from sin, initiates that union itself, perfects it by taking part in the sufferings of Christ and brings it to completion by the offering of sacrifice for the brethren."
"If, then, in foreseeing the sins of the future, the soul of Jesus became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that he already felt some comfort when he foresaw our reparation, when 'there appeared to Him an Angel from Heaven' (Luke 22:43), bearing consolation to His Heart, overcome with sorrow and anguish. Hence, even now, in a mysterious, but true, manner, we may, and should, comfort the Sacred Heart, continually wounded by the sins of ungrateful men; for Christ---as we also read in the sacred liturgy---complains by the mouth of the Psalmist that he is abandoned by his friends: (my heart hath expected reproach and misery. And I looked for one who would grieve together with me, but there was none; and for one that would comfort me, and I found none' (Psalm 48:21).
"It should also be remembered that the expiatory Passion of Jesus Christ is renewed and, in a manner, continued, in His Mystical Body---the Church. To use once more the words of St. Augustine: 'Christ suffered all that He had to suffer, and to the number of His sufferings nothing is wanting. Hence the Passion is complete; but in the Head only. There still remained the sufferings of Christ to be completed in His Body' (Psalm 87). Jesus Christ Himself taught the same truth when to Saul, 'as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples' (Acts 9:1), he said: 'I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest' (Acts 9:5). By these words He clearly meant that persecutions directed against the Church are a grievous attack upon her Divine Head. Christ then, as He still suffers in His Mystical Body, rightly desires to have us as His companions in the work of expiation. In this manner He desires us to be united with Him, because, since we are 'the Body of Christ and members of member' (1 Cor. 12:27), what the head suffers the members should suffer with it (cf. 1 Cor. 12:26).
"That the necessity of expiation and reparation is especially urgent today must be evident to anyone who considers the present plight of the world, 'seated in wickedness' (1 John 5:19). From every side we hear the cry of nations whose Governments have in very truth stood up and met together against the Lord and against His Church" (f. Psalm 2:2). (Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Universal Reparation to the Sacred Heart).
S. Such an immolation with Christ must demand a very intense spiritual life.
T. Obviously, to repair the fault committed by sinful man, it is necessary to go before God as a soul which is united to Him by grace and love. Like Jesus Christ and with Him in His sufferings and death, it must be intimately united with the three Divine Persons. That is why souls which wish to join in the redemptive work of our Lord must in some measure apply themselves to the practice of the spiritual and supernatural life. They must live a life of union with God and of immolation.
"We may, in a sense, apply to our own times the words of the Apostle: 'Where sin abounded, grace did more abound' (Rom. 5:20). For, while the perversity of mankind has greatly increased, yet, by the favour of the Holy Spirit, there is also a great increase in the number of the faithful, both men and women, who valiantly strive to make satisfaction to the Divine Heart for so many sins that are committed against it, who do not fear even to offer themselves to Christ as victims. Whoever ponders with love over what we have been saying, and
impresses it deeply upon his heart, will undoubtedly not only hate sin, and shun it as the greatest of evils, but will offer himself to the Divine Will, and use every means in his power to compensate for the offences committed against the Divine Majesty, by constant prayer, by voluntary mortification and by the patient acceptance of all the trials that may come upon him---in fact, by living his whole life in the spirit of reparation.
"In this way there have come into being many religious communities of men and women, whose pious ambition it is to play the part, day and night, of the Angel that comforted Christ in His Agony. Besides these, there are devote associations, approved by the Holy See and endowed with indulgences, which perform suitable exercises of piety and virtue, with the object of making reparation. Add to these the practice used, not only by individuals, but by whole parishes, dioceses and cities, of making solemn act of reparation" (Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI on Universal Reparation to the Sacred Heart).
S. So you demand something more than action for the attainment of your goal?
T. Obviously, action is absolutely necessary, but the work of the soul united to God and immolating itself with Christ Jesus is no less indispensable. Perfection is possible only by the constant union of action and contemplation, corresponding to the twofold precept of love of God and love of our neighbour. The ideal is the mutual compenetration of interior life and action or rather the complete predominance of the interior life, impregnating with its perfume all external activity. The harmony between action and contemplation is not meant to be the result of mutual concessions and compromises, implying a non-existent equality between them. "Thus it is evident that, when anyone passes from the contemplative to the active life, it must not be by way of detachment and suppression, but by way of addition." (IIa, IIae, Q. 182 a. I ad 3um.)
1. Translation. Bums, Oates and Washbourne.
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