I can still remember when I first heard that Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus told his Jesuits to “Set the world on fire”, as they went off to perform their mission. The command has stayed on my mind ever since I first heard it.
It's so different from Jesus' instructions when he sent his lay preachers:
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Go Set the World on Fire
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Jim Manney in Reflections
Ignatius often ended his letters to Jesuits going to the missions with the expression ite, inflammate omnia—“go, set the world on fire.” What did he mean by that? Maybe it was just a rah-rah expression, the kind of thing a football coach says when he tells the team to go out on the field and “kick butt.” But I don’t think so. I don’t think Ignatius had a cheerleader’s personality. He was a serious man who used words carefully.
“Set the world on fire” is a curious expression. Fire destroys; the world is already on fire with hatred, resentment, greed, lust, and other passions that consume individuals and whole societies. But fire purifies too; in the Bible, flames burn up the weeds and the refiner’s fire purifies gold. Then there are the tongues of fire that that descend on the apostles at Pentecost, bringing the power of the Holy Spirit. I think this image might have been in Ignatius’s mind when he told his Jesuits to set the world on fire. He wanted everyone to be set afire with passion and zeal for the Kingdom of God.
No wonder “set the world on fire” has become something of a motto of Jesuit ministries. The book of Jesuit/Ignatian prayer that Loyola Press publishes is called Hearts on Fire. The Jesuit General Congregation’s decree on the Jesuit charism is called “A Fire that Kindles Other Fires.” That’s the kind of fire that’s worth spreading.
Yesterday, I saw the following headline, and it brought to mind the metaphor once used by the founder of the Jesuit Order, Ignatius Loyola: “Go, set the world on fire.”
Monday, January 4, 2016 12:59
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You have GOT to be kidding me! Even WITH the nation watching as the media has now started covering the takeover of a federal building in Oregon by armed militia members whose stated goal is stopping an out of control and far overreaching government, Obama plans to meet with Department of Injustice Attorney General Loretta Lynch anyway for advice on ways he can further overreach into the lives of law abiding Americans.
This guy has gone WAY off the reservation. World financial markets are imploding, Iran and Saudi Arabia are on the brink of armed conflict, we’ve got the takeover of a federal property by armed militia here at home, and Obama has one goal: Usurping the elected representatives of We the People in the United States Congress, and dictating another illegal and unconstitutional Executive Order as if he’s a king or an emperor who rule’s by decree!
And I can not forget this March 2015 video of Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz in New Hampshire (concerning foreign policy under the Obama Administration) where he stated "the Whole World is On Fire"; then, a little girl in the audience innocently asked out loud: The world is on fire?
The whole world is not literally on fire, but it is heading in that direction.