Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them "a universal sacrament of salvation," 1 the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder cf. Mark , strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following in the footsteps of Christ, "preached the word of truth and begot churches. In the present state of affairs, out of which there is arising a new situation for mankind, the Church, being the salt of the earth and the light of the world cf. The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father. Thus He who created all things may at last be "all in all" 1 Cor.
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Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them "a universal sacrament of salvation," 1 the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and obeying the mandate of her Founder cf. Mark , strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. The Apostles themselves, on whom the Church was founded, following in the footsteps of Christ, "preached the word of truth and begot churches. In the present state of affairs, out of which there is arising a new situation for mankind, the Church, being the salt of the earth and the light of the world cf.
The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father. Thus He who created all things may at last be "all in all" 1 Cor.
But it pleased God to call men to share His life, not just singly, apart from any mutual bond, but rather to mold them into a people in which His sons, once scattered abroad might be gathered together cf. John This universal design of God for the salvation of the human race is carried out not only, as it were, secretly in the soul of a man, or by the attempts even religious ones by which in diverse ways it seeks after God if perchance it may contact Him or find Him, though He be not far from anyone of us cf.
Acts For these attempts need to be enlightened and healed; even though, through the kindly workings of Divine Providence, they may sometimes serve as leading strings toward God, or as a preparation for the Gospel. Him, then, by whom He made the world, 3 He appointed heir of all things, that in Him He might restore all cf.
For Jesus Christ was sent into the world as a real mediator between God and men. Since He is God, all divine fullness dwells bodily in Him Gal. According to His human nature, on the other hand, He is the new Adam, made head of a renewed humanity, and full of grace and of truth John Therefore the Son of God walked the ways of a true Incarnation that He might make men sharers in the nature of God: made poor for our sakes, though He had been rich, in order that His poverty might enrich us 2 Cor.
The Son of Man came not that He might be served, but that He might be a servant, and give His life as a ransom for the many - that is, for all cf. Mark The Fathers of the Church proclaim without hesitation that what has not been taken up by Christ is not made whole. For Christ said concerning Himself, He whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world cf. John : the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me; to bring good news to the poor He sent me, to heal the broken - hearted, to proclaim to the captives release, and sight to the blind" Luke And again: "The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost" Luke But what the Lord preached that one time, or what was wrought in Him for the saving of the human race, must be spread abroad and published to the ends of the earth Acts , beginning from Jerusalem cf.
Luke , so that what He accomplished at that one time for the salvation of all, may in the course of time come to achieve its effect in all. To accomplish this, Christ sent from the Father His Holy Spirit, who was to carry on inwardly His saving work and prompt the Church to spread out.
Doubtless, the Holy Spirit was already at work in the world before Christ was glorified. The Church was publicly displayed to the multitude, the Gospel began to spread among the nations by means of preaching, and there was presaged that union of all peoples in the catholicity of the faith by means of the Church of the New Covenant, a Church which speaks all tongues, understands and accepts all tongues in her love, and so supersedes the divisiveness of Babel.
From the very beginning, the Lord Jesus "called to Himself those whom He wished; and He caused twelve of them to be with Him, and to be sent out preaching Mark ; cf. Thus the Apostles were the first budding - forth of the New Israel, and at the same time the beginning of the sacred hierarchy. Then, when He had by His death and His resurrection completed once for all in Himself the mysteries of our salvation and the renewal of all things, the Lord, having now received all power in heaven and on earth cf.
Acts , founded His Church as the sacrament of salvation and sent His Apostles into all the world just as He Himself had been sent by His Father cf. John , commanding them: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of a 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" Matt.
He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe, shall be condemned" Mark ff. Whence the duty that lies on the Church of spreading the faith and the salvation of Christ, not only in virtue of the express command which was inherited from the Apostles by the order of bishops, assisted by the priests, together with the successor of Peter and supreme shepherd of the Church, but also in virtue of that life which flows from Christ into His members; "From Him the whole body, being closely joined and knit together through every joint of the system, according to the functioning in due measure of each single part, derives its increase to the building up of itself in love" Eph.
The mission of the Church, therefore, is fulfilled by that activity which makes her, obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ; that thus there may lie open before them a firm and free road to full participation in the mystery of Christ.
Since this mission goes on and in the course of history unfolds the mission of Christ Himself, who was sent to preach the Gospel to the poor, the Church, prompted by the Holy Spirit, must walk in the same path on which Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self - sacrifice to the death, from which death He came forth a victor by His resurrection.
For thus did all the Apostles walk in hope, and by many trials and sufferings they filled up those things wanting to the Passion of Christ for His body which is the Church cf. For often, the blood of Christians was like a seed. This duty, to be fulfilled by the order of bishops, under the successor of Peter and with the prayers and help of the whole Church, is one and the same everywhere and in every condition, even though it may be carried out differently according to circumstances.
These circumstances in turn depend sometimes on the Church, sometimes on the peoples or groups or men to whom the mission is directed.
For the Church, although of itself including the totality or fullness of the means of salvation, does not and cannot always and instantly bring them all into action. In fact, there are times when, after a happy beginning, she must again lament a setback, or at least must linger in a certain state of unfinished insufficiency. As for the men, groups and peoples concerned, only by degrees does she touch and pervade them, and thus take them up into full catholicity.
The right sort of means and actions must be suited to any state or situation. These undertakings are brought to completion by missionary activity and are mostly exercised in certain territories recognized by the Holy See. The proper purpose of this missionary activity is evangelization, and the planting of the Church among those peoples and groups where it has not yet taken root. Under a hierarchy of their own, together with the faithful people, and adequately fitted out with requisites for living a full Christian life, they should make their contribution to the good of the whole Church.
The chief means of the planting referred to is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To preach this Gospel the Lord sent forth His disciples into the whole world, that being reborn by the word of God cf. In this missionary activity of the Church various stages sometimes are found side by side: first, that of the beginning or planting, then that of newness or youth.
Moreover, the groups among which the Church dwells are often radically changed, for one reason or other, so that an entirely new set of circumstances may arise. Then the Church must deliberate whether these conditions might again call for her missionary activity. Besides, circumstances are sometimes such that, for the time being, there is no possibility of expounding the Gospel directly and forthwith.
Then, of course, missionaries can and must at least bear witness to Christ by charity and by works of mercy, with all patience, prudence and great confidence. Thus they will prepare the way for the Lord and make Him somehow present. It perfects her Catholic unity by this expansion. It is sustained by her apostolicity. It exercises the collegial spirit of her hierarchy. It bears witness to her sanctity while spreading and promoting it. Thus, missionary activity among the nations differs from pastoral activity exercised among the faithful as well as from undertakings aimed at restoring unity among Christians.
And yet these two ends are most closely connected with the missionary zeal 15 because the division among Christians damages the most holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature 16 and blocks the way to the faith for many. Hence, by the very necessity of mission, all the baptized are called to gather into one flock, and thus they will be able to bear unanimous witness before the nations to Christ their Lord. And if they are not yet capable of bearing witness to the same faith, they should at least be animated by mutual love and esteem.
This missionary activity derives its reason from the will of God, "who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For Christ Himself "by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism cf. Mark ; John , at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.
Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity. By means of this activity, the Mystical Body of Christ unceasingly gathers and directs its forces toward its own growth cf. The members of the Church are impelled to carry on such missionary activity by reason of the love with which they love God and by which they desire to share with all men the spiritual goods of both its life and the life to come.
Finally, by means of this missionary activity, God is fully glorified, provided that men fully and consciously accept His work of salvation, which He has accomplished in Christ.
In this way and by this means, the plan of God is fulfilled - that plan to which Christ conformed with loving obedience for the glory of the Father who sent Him, 18 that the whole human race might form one people of God and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit which, being the expression of brotherly harmony, corresponds with the inmost wishes of all men. And so at last, there will be realized the plan of our Creator who formed man to His own image and likeness, when all who share one human nature, regenerated in Christ through the Holy Spirit and beholding the glory of God, will be able to say with one accord: "Our Father.
Missionary activity is closely bound up even with human nature itself and its aspirations. For by manifesting Christ the Church reveals to men the real truth about their condition and their whole calling, since Christ is the source and model of that redeemed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity and a peaceful spirit, to which they all aspire.
Christ and the Church, which bears witness to Him by preaching the Gospel, transcend every peculiarity of race or nation and therefore cannot be considered foreign anywhere or to anybody.
Now, since he who does not believe is already judged cf. John , the words of Christ are at one and the same time words of judgment and of grace, of death and of life. For it is only by putting to death what is old that we are able to approach the newness of life. No one is freed from sin by himself and by his own power, no one is raised above himself, no one is completely rid of his sickness or his solitude or his servitude.
The Gospel has truly been a leaven of liberty and progress in human history, even in the temporal sphere, and always proves itself a leaven of brotherhood, of unity and of peace.
Not without cause is Christ hailed by the faithful as "the expected of the nations, and their Savior. And so the time for missionary activity extends between the first coming of the Lord and the second, in which latter the Church will be gathered from the four winds like a harvest into the kingdom of God.
By the preaching of the word and by the celebration of the sacraments, the center and summit of which is the most holy Eucharist, He brings about the presence of Christ, the author of salvation. And so, whatever good is found to be sown in the hearts and minds of men, or in the rites and cultures peculiar to various peoples, not only is not lost, but is healed, uplifted, and perfected for the glory of God, the shame of the demon, and the bliss of men.
To this people it was said in prophecy: "Enlarge the space for your tent, and spread out your tent cloths unsparingly" Is. John , grows and is built up upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme corner stone Eph. The Church, sent by Christ to reveal and to communicate the love of God to all men and nations, is aware that there still remains a gigantic missionary task for her to accomplish.
For the Gospel message has not yet, or hardly yet, been heard by two million human beings and their number is increasing daily , who are formed into large and distinct groups by permanent cultural ties, by ancient religious traditions, and by firm bonds of social necessity.
Some of these men are followers of one of the great religions, but others remain strangers to the very knowledge of God, while still others expressly deny His existence, and sometimes even attack it. The Church, in order to be able to offer all of them the mystery of salvation and the life brought by God, must implant herself into these groups for the same motive which led Christ to bind Himself, in virtue of His Incarnation, to certain social and cultural conditions of those human beings among whom He dwelt.
The Church must be present in these groups through her children, who dwell among them or who are sent to them. For all Christians, wherever they live, are bound to show forth, by the example of their lives and by the witness of the word, that new man put on at baptism and that power of the Holy Spirit by which they have been strengthened at Conformation.
Thus other men, observing their good works, can glorify the Father cf. ES and can perceive more fully the real meaning of human life and the universal bond of the community of mankind. In order that they may be able to bear more fruitful witness to Christ, let them be joined to those men by esteem and love; let them acknowledge themselves to be members of the group of men among whom they live; let them share in cultural and social life by the various.
Even as Christ Himself searched the hearts of men, and led them to divine light, so also His disciples, profoundly penetrated by the Spirit of Christ, should show the people among whom they live, and should converse with them, that they themselves may learn by sincere and patient dialogue what treasures a generous God has distributed among the nations of the earth. But at the same time, let them try to furbish these treasures, set them free, and bring them under the dominion of God their Savior.
The presence of the Christian faithful in these human groups should be inspired by that charity with which God has loved us, and with which He wills that we should love one another cf.
Ad Gentes Divinitus
Mark , strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men. Principles of Doctrine [ edit ] "The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father. To preach this Gospel the Lord sent forth His disciples into the whole world, that being reborn by the word of God cf. Acts " 6 "And so the time for missionary activity extends between the first coming of the Lord and the second, in which latter the Church will be gathered from the four winds like a harvest into the kingdom of God. For the Gospel must be preached to all nations before the Lord shall come cf.
AD GENTES DIVINITUS PDF