This morning, someone gave me a copy of the Holy Ghost Fathers’ Mission News from February 1953. It was a copy of that was mailed to the Holy Ghost Fathers at my current address. My parish, Holy Ghost, was once a parish run by the Holy Ghost Fathers.
On the front inside cover, there is an application to join the Holy Ghost Mission League. I wonder if it still exists today. On this same page is listed the Purpose for those who join the Mission League. “To foster greater devotion to God the Holy Ghost, to obtain His graces for the conversion of the pagan world.” And of course, the second purpose is to financially support the missions of the Holy Ghost Fathers.
Let’s repeat that first part of the mission once again.
“To foster greater devotion to God the Holy Ghost,” This is important. Because all of the Church’s good works begin with the help of the Holy Ghost. Prayer must be first in all things. Without prayer, there is a danger that the work is our work and not God’s.
And “to obtain His graces for the conversion of the pagan world.” It is only by God’s grace that souls can turn to God and His one, true Church. People who do not believe need to convert. That is an ugly word today. It’s not politically correct. But, it is the message of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the will of our heavenly Father.
Today’s Gospel in the Ordinary Form for the Memorial of the North American Martyrs makes the central mission of the Church clear:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” And how do we do this? By “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” There is no other way to make disciples. There is no other way to bring people into communion with God. There is no other way to cleanse souls from original sin and fill them with sanctifying grace but through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
But our Lord does not end there. It is not enough to be a disciple. He commands His Apostles and disciples that to be true disciples they must know and live His teaching. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
In the midst of the Amazonian Synod, this message strikes a cord. They need to drop the rhetoric. Stop trying to convert us to paganism, and recommit to the central message of the Gospels: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Anything more and anything less is a mockery of the Triune God.