The Definition of Miles Jesu
Miles Jesu (Latin for Soldier of Jesus" is a form of consecrated life in the Church for the laity, known as an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life, whose purpose is "to instill Catholic ideals and goals in the world to further the Kingdom of Christ, making Him the Center of all human life". The Holy Father himself is consistently promoting such forms of consecrated life as something especially inspired by the Holy Spirit for the needs of our times.
Like no other time in the history of the Church, the role of the laity in the Church's salvific mission is greatly being emphasized. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has helped the laity to see more clearly that we have an obligation to be holy and an obligation to help the Church fulfill Her mission. What is the mission of the Church in the world? To teach the one true faith to the world and bring others to know Jesus and live according to the model He has set out for us. Miles Jesu is leading countless lay faithful to the fulfillment of their role in God's great plan.
If we look at the history of religious orders we find that God raised them up according to the special needs of their times. God raised St. Benedict to found his monasteries to bring stability and peace and to preserve learning at a time when the Roman Empire was falling apart. God raised St. Teresa and St. Ignatius to preserve and advance the Catholic Faith at a time when the Church was being torn apart from within by the Protestant Revolt. Today, because of the growth of secularization in the world, much of the work which must be done to make the world conform to Christ belongs to the sphere of the laity. God has been raising up institutes of perfection for lay people because many will not find Jesus Christ unless they find him in their neighbor or co-worker. We look like them, we work with them, we are their neighbors, and at the same time we are apostles for Jesus Christ. We can enter through an opening that is not typically there for priests and religious. This is one important reason why lay institutes exist.
We take to heart serving our Lord to the best of our ability with the talents He has given each of us.
We call ourselves a faith family because our membership includes men and women; laity and priests; celibate, married, widowed and single people, all united together as a large family under one General Director. Miles Jesu adapts itself to the vocation each one of us has received from Jesus and helps each one to be faithful to that vocation. Although there are priest and bishop members of Miles Jesu, the lay members comprise the majority of the overall membership. Miles Jesu is not a Third Order, that is, a lay addition to an existing religious congregation. Nor is Miles Jesu a religious congregation. Miles Jesu is a Catholic Institute of perfection for the laity officially approved by the Holy See.
"The originality of the new communities often consists in the fact that they are composed of mixed groups of men and women, of clerics and lay persons, of married couples and celibates, all of whom pursue a particular style of life. These communities are sometimes inspired by one or other traditional form adapted to the needs of modern society. Their commitment to the evangelical life also takes on different forms, while, as a general rule, they are all characterized by an intense aspiration to community life, poverty, and prayer. Both clerics and lay persons share in the duties of governing according to the responsibilities assigned to them, and the apostolate focuses on the demands of the new evangelization." (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, n. 62)
Vinculum members are the married or single members without the commitment of celibacy. Vinculum, Latin for "bond," describes the unity in purpose, in spirit, in charity, in prayer, and in action that all the members of Miles Jesu have in Christianizing the secular world. The stronger the bond, the more effective Miles Jesu becomes, spiritually and apostolically, as an instrument at the total service of the Church.
A domus member is any consecrated celibate member. Most of our celibate (or domus) members live in common in separate houses for men and women. As we begin the Third Millennium there are Domus communities spread over 13 countries on four continents.
Because we all belong equally to the same faith family, there are no first-class or second-class members of Miles Jesu. The vinculum members respond directly to the General Government as do the domus members.
What all the members of Miles Jesu have in common is:
An unwavering loyalty to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church in faith and morals. Miles Jesu is neither "conservative" nor "liberal." We are simply Catholic,
A thirst for holiness in a spirit of availability, each one according to his or her own state of life;
A strong devotion and reverence for Our Eucharistic Lord;
A tender and loving devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
A clear understanding and practice of true lay spirituality and apostolate in temporal affairs and ordering them to the plan of God" (LG, 31).
Although the primary apostolate is that each member has to live out his Catholic ideals in his personal, family, professional, and social life, there are various special and important apostolates that are carried out by Miles Jesu members as a unified force. These apostolates include: printing and distributing Catholic "tracts" and other Catholic literature, feeding and clothing the poor and homeless, establishing Boys' Towns and Girls' Towns, establishing Boys' Schools and Girls' Schools, promoting the Unity of all Christians, Promoting the Cause of Queen Isabel, promoting respect for life, promoting devotion and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament, promoting culture and true history, promoting a Catholic ecology movement, promoting a Catholic Professionals' Society, and promoting vocations to Miles Jesu, to name a few.
Each person is a living responsible member and commits himself or herself according to his own capacity. As our Constitutions say, "Any human institution can only be built on unconditional and perpetual dedication. Those members who have it are the backbone of it and the ones who get the most benefits."
What is unique about Miles Jesu?
Miles Jesu was founded by Very Rev. Alphonsus Maria Duran, who was born in Madrid, Spain and was sent to the Southwestern United States in 1958 as a young Claretian priest. There Father Duran became a renowned leader in the Cursillo movement, an intensive retreat which emphasizes the layman's call to holiness and to apostolate. He envisioned a laity knowledgeable in things both human and divine, deeply formed in virtue and the interior life, and totally dedicated and committed to transforming the world in Christ. On January 12, 1964, before the end of Vatican Council II, which re-emphasized the vocation of the laity to holiness and to apostolate in the world, Miles Jesu was born.
Miles Jesu is active in many countries around the world, servicing the needs of the physically and spiritually poor. Miles Jesu is both Latin and Eastern Rite.
If you would like more information about Miles Jesu or becoming a consecrated lay member, you can contact us and purchase additional literature in our bookstore.