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!

Dom  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!

1.    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 infused fruitfully.

2.    MORNING PRAYER.   Upon waking, the first thoughts and expressions should be gratitude to God and the Morning offering.

3.    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.

4.    MEALS.  Bless the meals together!  This done Jesus sits down at table with the family!   The best of guests!

5.    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!

6.    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, magnificent!

7.    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!

8.    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!

9.     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!