As Christian-Catholics we are all
called to be apostles. The proof! Baptism! In the ceremony of Baptism, shortly
after the water has been poured on the head and the Trinitarian formula has
been pronounced the minister anoints the head of the newly-baptized with chrism
endowing him/her with a triple function: to be priest, prophet, and king. Prophet, what does that mean? Simply this: to
extend the Kingdom of Christ through word and example!
Next, Confirmation! Confirmation strengthens the Gifts of the
Holy Spirit within us, but also summons us to actively live out our role as
Apostles. The Bishop says “Now you are called to spread the faith
and to defend the faith.”. Soldiers for Christ, Missionaries of the Lord,
Apostles of the King of Kings, are all roles to be carried out seriously flowing from the grace of Confirmation. And,
if called to the heights of the imitation of Jesus, to even shed our blood and
die as a martyr! May Gods’ grace support and sustain us!
Finally, Jesus last words in the
Gospel of St. Matthew are a missionary mandate:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until
the end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)
Therefore, convinced of our call to
be apostles, how can we carry out this sublime by demanding commission?
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen comes to
our rescue with these simple but clear words of Jesus Himself: “First come and then go!” This must be the chronological order. First, we must come to be with Jesus, spend
time with Him, get to know Him, love Him and share His same interests. According to St. Ignatius in his Contemplation
of the Call of the King it is to avoid being deaf to the call, but also to
conquer the whole world for the King!
In other words, we must prepare
ourselves to be an effective apostle. The first and most essential quality is
deep prayer, which for St. Teresa of Avila is deep FRIENDSHIP with Jesus.
Furthermore, a true Apostle must
study to get to know the Lord better.
Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a “Year of faith” from October 2012 up
to November 2013. In this year the Vicar of Christ encourages us to get to know
our faith by a return to study. In
specific, the Holy Father recommends that we read the Documents of the Second
Vatican Council as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In obedience to the Holy Father, by reading,
studying, assimilating and implementing this ecclesial teaching, undoubtedly,
we are preparing ourselves to become efficacious apostles in our modern world!
Chautard in his classic “Soul of the Apostolate” poignantly notes that
if one is not well-prepared doctrinally through adequate study he could end up
by wreaking havoc in the souls he approaches rather than enlightening and
sanctifying! Remember the example of
Jesus: 30, 3, and 3! Jesus spent thirty
years in the quiet home of Nazareth, preparing himself for his mission—active ministry,
which was only three years. Finally he spent three hours on the cross redeeming
us by His Precious Blood!
After a serious preparation, what
then, and where do I start? “Charity
begins at home!” One’s first apostolate
should be one’s own family, which has been called by Vatican II as “The
domestic church”. This being the case,
what are concrete ways to be an apostle in my own home? Voila!!! Here we go!
PRAYER/MASS/HOLY COMMUNION. First and above all else, pray for your
family! Have Masses offered, offer your own Holy Communion, and consecrate your
family to Mary. This done, the soil of
your family members will become a ripe seed ground in which God’s grace can be
MORNING PRAYER. Upon waking, the first thoughts and
expressions should be gratitude to God and the Morning offering.
PRAYER IN THE CAR. Parents who provide transportation for their
children to school could take advantage of these few minutes to pray with their
children, the Rosary or at least a decade or two.
MEALS. Bless the meals together! This done Jesus sits down at table with the
family! The best of guests!
FAMILY ROSARY! Our Lady of Fatima appeared six times to
three Shepherd children—Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, from May till October.
Every time she appeared she strongly exhorted to “Pray the Rosary!” Not only
that but her name in Fatima was “Our Lady of the Rosary.” Fifteen minutes a day and heaven for all
eternity! Not a bad deal!
NIGHT PRAYERS. Parents should put their children to bed, but
in the process--- even if it be short—to pray with their children. Starting and ending our day with God,
MONTHLY CONFESSION, AT LEAST! Parents who have children, who cannot drive,
have the moral obligation to provide frequent reception of the Sacraments for
their children, the Eucharist and Confession! Being remiss in this could result
in one’s children, later on, losing their faith! Parents, be responsible for
the salvation of your children!
DAILY MASS! Vacation time, “down-time” from work or
school, off to Mass. No greater Gift from Jesus is the Eucharist! No greater action on earth than to receive
Holy Communion with burning love!
DVD’’S & MOVIES! Padre Pio, John Bosco, Molokai, St. Rita,
Mother Teresa, JPII, Pope John XXIII,
St. Francis, The Cure of Ars,
Kolbe, St Therese, and St. Teresa of Avila--- all of these are out for our
viewing and rejoicing! Set aside family time to see good movies or DVD’s. This
is a form of apostolate!
10. MARY AND THE
SCAPULAR! Finally, make sure that every
member of your family is wearing the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
called the “Garment of grace.” By wearing this Scapular, we enter Mary’s
family, wear her garment, receive special blessings and can rest peacefully
under her loving gaze and in the depths of her Immaculate heart!
In sum, my friends, the harvest is
rich and the laborers are few. Let us prepare our minds, hearts and souls to
engage in the most noble enterprise in the world: to work side by side with
Jesus the Lord of Lord’s and King of
Kings in the salvation of souls an of the whole world!