Jesus founded the Church on a firm rock (cf. Mt 16:18). Unlike purely human institutions, the Church, besides being immortal, retains a freshness of eternal youth, so to speak, because her Head, Christ (cf. Col 1:18), is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Mystical Bride of Christ has certainly undergone countless vicissitudes throughout her journey. Heresies were plotted against her dogmas, moral corruption tried to poison her with every kind of vice, and bloody persecutions sought her ruin. All in vain. Instead, at each new onslaught she has re-emerged always more robust.
One of the means used by Providence to preserve the Church’s youthfulness was the foundation of new religious orders, as well as the emergence of providential men, adapted to every age.
As St. Gregory the Great testifies in his writings, St. Benedict, after being elected superior of the incipient community of religious that had formed around him, soon became the object of envy and hatred on the part of some monks. They tried to poison him because they did not want to abandon their old customs and submit to the new monastic way of life.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux praised the Knights Templar precisely because they were a “new style” of chivalry – that is to say, made up of monk-soldiers – without, however, abandoning their link with the past.
Thomas of Celano calls St. Francis of Assisi a “new soldier of Christ” who introduced a “new spirit” and “new principles”, so as to form “new disciples of Christ”. According to his biographer, the Poverello was the “new man” (Eph 4:24) sent by God.
In this way, the Church remains always young, because she is continually enriched with new wines, preserved in new wineskins.
The Heralds of the Gospel aim to be, without false modesty, part of a new breath of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Indeed, they were approved by St. John Paul II as the first charism of the new millennium. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, they have been called the “arm of the Pope” by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejía. As a charism, they are a “new chivalry, not secular but religious, with a new ideal of sanctity and a heroic commitment to the Church,” which represents “the newness that has been manifested in recent years in the Church,” according to the commentary of Cardinal Franc Rodé.
Since the founding of this magazine twenty years ago – that is, an entire generation – it has advanced harmoniously with the association that inspired it. It can be noted that, in merely human generations, the more recent generations tend to disdain previous ones, to emphasize their break with past customs. Nevertheless, the “generations” of the Church succeed one another harmoniously, as long as its members seek to learn from one another, for neither the new nor the old is necessarily better. In reality, the greatest perfection consists in reflecting the eternally youthful countenance of Christ, unchanging in Himself but dynamic in His works.
In the next 20 years, may this monthly publication be an ever more effective herald of the Good News, that is, a messenger of that beauty, so ancient and so new, of the Creator – the very fulcrum of its mission. ◊