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This is a review of a section of the book Colonial Spanish America: a documentary history By Kenneth R. Mills, and William B. Taylor. It covers a whole chapter. Orders given to “the twelve" refers to the document given to “ the twelve” apostles like the Jesus disciples were sent as missionaries to evangelize to the native people of Mexico. Native people were regarded as nonbelievers who were powerlessly waiting for redemption of which they were ignorant.
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These orders were issued to the twelve apostles before leaving for Mexico from Spain by their superiors referred to as the obediencia; the document contained the exhortations and instructions. This document was to serve as their manual to reinforce their efforts to evangelize the native people of Mexico.
It was believed that the twelve were divinely inspired force working for the benefit and salvation of the souls in the last days of the world which were also referred to as the eleventh hour in the struggle for salvation. They were guided by the two principles, obediencia and instruccion. Obediencia was regarded as the palm of martyrdom, like death is, and also the instruccion or the assurance from God above.
The team was composed of the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Franciscans believed that a holy and moral life offers the most powerful incentive in the conversion of the nonbelievers. This is what distinguished them from the Dominicans who favored doctrinal preaching programs and philosophical arguments with religious opponents as the most powerful and effective means of converting the non-believers and those of weak faith.
The Franciscans were characterized by short sermons to the lepers and the poor. They also noted to withdraw from secluded places. They were ordered to preach among the infidels, to practice extreme poverty, rigorous regime of flagellation and salient spiritual retreats. Their prayers and speeches were mostly paradigms which they were supposed to recite.
Franciscans were considered to be the most strict and observant group of the sixteenth century. Spain was the main contributing country of many of the early Franciscans in Mexico. This constituted members of “the twelve.”
Their original rule interpretation stressed that they were supposed to exhibit Gods love in their preaching of the word of Jesus Christ to non-Christians. They were also supposed to urge non-believers to accept Christ, get baptized and become Christians.
Several orders were given to them to guide them through their evangelistic mission. These orders were;
- To defend the kings army, the heavenly kingdom, against its enemies
- To preach by words and by works
- To be ready to shed their blood for the Christ’s sake and for the salvation
- To be prepared to go to prison and to even die for the sake of their neighbors’ conversion and for their own salvation
- To be holy and obedient
- To be faithful and diligent to the office of the pastoral commission
- To endure long time hardships
- To be armed faithfulness, and being just to one another, to be guided by the salvation, and to be persevering
- To struggle and work tirelessly to shame Satan who seek and hastens to God to gain victory over souls.
- To labor like St. Francis, their spiritual father
- To liberate and safeguard all souls snatched by Satan and redeem them with the precious blood of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
- To be the means through which their superiors accomplish the wishes of their spiritual father, St. Francis.
However, two cases were reserved for the superiors, the pastoral commission high office. These were admitting women of all sorts into the order and obedience of St. Clare. This included the virgins, widowed, or married, regardless of their category. The other reserved case was the power of excommunicating the disobedience.