Instruction on the Way of Proceeding
There are three
objectives you should keep in mind. One is the preservation and increase of
the Society in spirit, learning, and numbers. The second is that we should
look to the edification of the city and seek spiritual fruit in it. The third
is to consolidate and increase the temporalities of the new college, so that
our Lord will be better served in the first and second objectives.
The first objective,
which regards membership in the Society, is something of a foundation for the
others, because the better the workers are, the more suitable they will be to
be accepted by God as instruments for the edification of externs and the
continuation of the foundation.
1. To this end all
should have a right intention, so that they will seek solely, not their own
interests but the things that are Jesus Christ's [Phil. 2:21]. They
should endeavor to conceive great resolves and elicit equally great desires to
be true and faithful servants of God, and to render a good account of
themselves in that which has been laid upon them, with a true abnegation of
their own will and judgment and a total submission of themselves to God's
government of them by means of holy obedience. And this, whether they are
employed in important offices or in tasks of little moment. They should, as
far as possible, be fervent in their prayers to obtain this grace from Him who
is the giver of all good. The superior should occasionally remind them of this
2. As far as
possible, the order and method of this Roman College should be followed,
especially in the practice of weekly confession and Communion, in the daily
examination of conscience and the hearing of Mass in the house, if they have a
chapel, and if not, elsewhere if it seems expedient; in the practice of
obedience and the avoidance of dealing with externs, except as the rector
shall direct. The latter will decide how much responsibility is to be
entrusted to each for the edification of others, without danger of loss to
3. In the community
refectory there should be a daily exercise in preaching, one after the other,
either at dinner or supper. This exercise may be either ex tempore or
prepared, but not more than an hour should be given to its preparation. In
addition to this there should be a weekly preaching in the vernacular or in
Latin. For this a subject should be proposed on which one will speak without
preparation. There should also be sermons in Greek. Or they may have the
tones. This second item, however, may be changed and adapted to the abilities
of the students.
4. Let each one be
intent on his progress in learning and in helping his companions, and give
himself to study or lecturing which the rector shall indicate. Care must be
taken that the lectures are accommodated to the capacity of the students. All
should be well grounded in grammar and be trained in composition, the masters
being careful to correct all themes. There should be some practice in
discussions and debates. There should be sufficient opportunity to have all
this done at home without having recourse to extern schools. Some, however,
may be sent to these schools if the superior, taking all circumstances into
account, should think it proper.
5. In all these
literary and spiritual associations they should try to win others to the life
of perfection. With younger students this should be tried only with the
greatest skill. Even the older among them should not be received into our
schools without their parents' consent. However, should it be thought
expedient to receive one of these into our house after he has firmly expressed
his resolve, or to send him to Rome or elsewhere, this may be done. Discretion
and the unction of the Holy Spirit will point out the best course. But in case
of doubt one may, to make certain, write to the provincial or to Rome.
6. The better to
attain these ends it will be good to have some of the more advanced students
carefully compose Latin discourses on some Christian virtue, such as may be
seen in the list of subjects that has been drawn up, and have them declaim
them publicly in everyone's presence on Sundays and feast days. Young men and
others, especially those who seem to have some aptitude for the religious
life, could be invited to hear them. This is a suitable way of preparing those
whom the Savior is inviting to walk the road to perfection. At the very least
they will be giving good example and edification, and the members of the
community will be helped in the practice of letters and of virtue.
With regard to the
second objective, namely, attending to the edification and spiritual profit of
the city, you should, besides helping those outside the Society with prayers
and the example of modesty and virtue, make some effort to do so by means of
the following external practices.
1. Teach Latin and
Greek to all who come to you, according to their native ability, and even
Hebrew, and let the students exercise themselves in composition and in
2. Care should be
taken to teach children their catechism on all Sundays and feast days, and
even during the week, following the order of the Roman College or another that
may be thought more suitable. This could be done in the house or in some
convenient and nearby place, which you may judge to be better adapted for the
3. Be very careful
to have the students form good habits. If possible, see that they attend Mass
daily, and they should hear a sermon on feast days when one is scheduled. They
should confess once a month, and avoid all oaths as well as all blasphemous
and indecent speech.
4. If it can
conveniently be done, there should be a sermon on Sundays and feast days, or
one of them might explain the catechism.
5. If it can be
done, a lecture on Holy Scripture or scholastic theology should be given for
priests, such as something on the sacraments or some cases of conscience.
6. Special attention
should be given to heresies, and you should be properly armed against them.
Keep in mind the subjects that are most attacked by the heretics, and try to
be considerate in laying bare their wounds and applying a remedy. If this much
cannot be done, then their false teaching must be opposed.
7. You should try to
bring people to the sacraments of penance and Communion, and be ready to
8. You will be able
to help all with whom you deal if you make use of spiritual conversations,
especially if you find your hearers disposed to benefit from them. The first
week of the Exercises can be given to anyone; but the other weeks only to
those whom you find suitable for the state of perfection and who truly desire
to be helped.
9. You should be
careful to help prisoners and visit the prisons if you can, and you should
occasionally preach and exhort them to confession and a return to God. Hear
their confessions if opportunity offers.
10. Do not forget
the hospitals. Try to console and give spiritual help to the poor as far as
you can. Even in these places some exhortation may be profitable, unless
circumstances seem to advise otherwise.
11. In general you
should try to keep informed about the pious works in the city where you
reside; and do all you possibly can to help them.
12. Although many
reasons of helping the neighbor and pious works are here proposed, discretion
will be your guide in the choice you must make. It is taken for granted that
you cannot do all of them, but you should never lose sight of the greater
service of God, the common good, and the good name of the Society.
The third objective
deals with consolidating and increasing the temporal goods of the new college.
A great help toward this will be the daily sacrifices and the special prayers
which all the members of the community ought to offer for this purpose,
insofar as it will be for God's glory. Moreover, the observance of what has
been said in the first and second objectives will help more than any other
means we could devise. But to touch on a few means belonging properly to this
third objective, we suggest the following:
1. Try to preserve
and increase the prince's good will, and try to please him whenever possible
according to God. Serve him in those pious works which he is especially
interested in promoting, provided they do no injury to God's service.
Likewise, be careful to maintain a good name, esteem, and favor with him, and
speak to him in such a way that he will come to hope that the Society is
disposed on its part to help the work progress, even if it usually begins in a
small way, so that later it may grow rather than fail.
2. You will also
have to make an effort to win over individuals and benefactors, and talk with
them about spiritual things. To help them in a special way is something quite
proper and acceptable to God, with whose business we are concerned.
3. The better to
preserve your own authority in spiritual matters, you should try, if possible,
to have our friends, rather than ourselves, make the requests for us and
manage our temporal affairs; or let it be done in such a way that there is no
appearance of greed. To avoid all such worries, it might be better to settle
on a fixed amount for your support. Nothing should be said about this, except
at the proper time and in the proper manner.
4. Have a special
care that, though it may not be offered at present, a good site may be offered
in time that will be sufficiently large, or one which can be added to until it
is large enough, for a house, a church, and a school, and if possible, not far
from the center of the city.
5. Write to us every
week for help and guidance.