“Ite, inflammate omnia.” With these words, St. Ignatius of Loyola—founder of the Society of Jesus—sent out St. Francis Xavier and other Jesuit missionaries into foreign lands. This Latin phrase (“Go, set all (things) aflame” was probably, in Ignatius’ mind, an echoing of Christ’s words in the Gospel according to St. Luke: “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and would that it were already enkindled” / ignem veni mittere in terram, et quid volo nisi ut accendatur (Lk 12:49). Now, of course, neither Our Lord nor St. Ignatius of Loyola were arsonists. The flame that they wanted to see the world burn was none other than the flame of the Holy Spirit, who appeared to the Apostles in the form of “tongues like flames of fire”, which then rested upon their heads. Since its genesis, Christianity has been a religion of conversion, both internal and external. Internal conversion involves a change in the intellect and will; the former coming to know the truths of God and the latter beginning to move towards God, its proper and final end. External conversion is a mandate given by Christ, whose words at the closing of the Gospel according to St. Matthew have guided the Church in her missionary zeal: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” / euntes ergo docete omnes gentes baptizantes eos in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti docentes eos servare omnia quaecumque mandavi vobis (Mt 28:19-20). Each baptized Christian is called to set the world aflame with the love of Christ, whether one is in the cloister or the marketplace. In this contemporary era, oftentimes dubbed the “Digital Age”, we are no less summoned to propagate and spread the true Faith. But the question is this: are we capable?
My name is John Anthony Monaco. I am 27 years old, a doctoral student in systematic theology, and a married man to a wonderful, Christian woman. I am the sole author of this blog, and all of the opinions expressed here are mine. I was raised in a traditional Roman Catholic home, adorned with images of the Sacred Heart and filled with a spirit of devotional prayer. At the age of 17, I entered seminary to prepare for the priesthood, before ultimately leaving in 2016 to pursue an academic vocation as a layman. I am trained in philosophy, theology, pastoral care, and music (voice & trumpet). Throughout these disciplines, I have one sole aim: to make Christ known and loved. It is a common Thomistic dictum that we cannot love that which we do not know, and thus in order to love the Triune God, we must first come to know Him. But to stop at knowledge of God would miss the entire point of the Christian life, which is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mk 12:30) If this world is lacking knowledge of the true God, then how much more is the world lacking love of Him?
The purpose of this blog is to “inflame the world” with the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Although I am a Roman Catholic, I have been spiritually nourished by the Eastern Catholic/Orthodox tradition for years now. My intended audience is therefore ecumenical, and adherents of other Christian denominations, other religions or even the irreligious are more than welcome to read my blog and participate in discussion. Primarily, I will write essays on history, culture, philosophy, theology, and spirituality. Personally, I find the essay genre to be conducive to proper exposition and explanation of important topics. Still, I know well the value of other literary forms (poetry, short stories, novels, journaling, etc.) and I hope to explore these techniques in the future. As for now, you will find mostly essays on my blog, but there is also a section for my new podcast. I hope Inflammate Omnia becomes a helpful resource for you in your journey of faith.