From its very beginning at the start of the twentieth century up to its hundredth year of life at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Society of Christian Doctrine experienced significant changes. Rooting itself quite solidly in the Maltese Islands, where it became one of the foremost associations in the Church in Malta, the SDC for over sixty years flourished in a culture where Christianity was widespread and dominant. Positive aspects and Christian values are evident everywhere among different peoples of the world for God’s Spirit is still alive on earth. However we cannot deny that the SDC is exposed to a modern and globalised culture with an informatics net which is easily accessible to most, to a society marked by a fast life rhythm, by women and men both involved in work, by families which are not always up to the Christian ideal, by youths who are often insecure and reluctant to commit themselves to a vocation since the world around them is leaving them confused and scared about their future, by a culture of consumerism and agnosticism which apparently has lost the awe of the transcendent while continuing to seek eagerly for a higher meaning for life.
This culture of a ‘postmodern’ society is bound to influence the life of the SDC Members who as lay people carry out their work and fulfil the apostolate of their calling “in the heart of the world”. Hence we must be more aware of the changes that this culture brings about, and of the diverse opportunities and resources presented by this transformed modern situation of today’s peoples who, in spite of everything, are still blessed by the fruits of the Incarnation and the Redemption of the Lord Jesus. All that is genuinely human, of men and women “created in God’s image”, must in one way or another find echo in our hearts. “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). The Member loves the world just as God loves it in Jesus Christ. With this positive approach grounded in the Incarnation, the Society opens itself to the world for the service of humanity while focusing its gaze on God as the fixed centre in such a way as to continue avowing its identity and charism.
This attitude is essential for the more secularist the world becomes the more the world itself demands that the Society be what it is meant to be. Fidelity is ever more needed today in a world which is reducing every calling and profession to the functional and the economic thus watering down all specific distinctiveness. The Members, and especially young men and women who are off-springs of this world “obsessed” with the identity problem and who nonetheless feel that the Lord is calling them to the SDC vocation, must always have their answer ready for people who ask them the reason for the hope that they have (1 Pt 3:15).