Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Soul of the Apostolate

At the blogsite—Historical Christian—there is a post on a marvelous book, The Soul of the Apostolate, a manual for those involved in an apostolate, which reveals the importance of developing a deep interiority and closeness to Christ and the Church to be successful in apostolate work.

In our work at Lampstand we refer to this pathway as developing deep knowledge—the accumulation of experiential knowledge, graduate academic learning, training in the social teaching of the Church and managing a community organization: congruent with the mission of the apostolate; strengthened with daily practice of Mass, praying the Rosary, morning and evening devotions—and through this process, the possibility of receiving grace to effectively work through your apostolate, that which you are called to do, will be deeply enhanced.

It is really the mandate to develop a priestly soul, to enter the way of perfection, to reject the judgment of the world, and seek only that of eternity.

An excerpt.

“We have too many decent priests. I am tired of decent priests. Decent priests have done me little good.* Sound shocking? Then read this, from the classic little book The Soul of the Apostolate, which I’m currently reading:

“If the priest is a saint (the saying goes), the people will be fervent; if the priest is fervent, the people will be pious; if the priest is pious, the people will at least be decent. But if the priest is only decent, the people will be godless. The spiritual generation is always one degree less intense in its life than those who beget it in Christ.”

“If the priest is only decent, the people will be godless. And we have many godless people - not just in the world today, but in the pews. Catholics who use contraception freely, and see nothing wrong with it. Catholics who immerse themselves in the world, are indistinguishable from the world, and aren’t even aware there’s a problem with it. Catholics who live together before marriage, and see nothing wrong with it – 80% in my archdiocese, and my archdiocese is one of the better ones. Catholics who never, or rarely, go to confession. Catholics who receive the Eucharist unfeelingly, in a state of sin, and so are unchanged by it.

“Priest, if you are merely nice, and teach others to be merely nice, you have failed in your calling as a priest – and failed in your calling to form your people in the image of Christ; more, to form Christ in your people. We are eating God; meant to live on God; we need to be taught how to do so, and become His dwelling place on earth, here and now. We human beings are the meeting place between heaven and earth, between God and creation, and we need to be taught how to open ourselves up and let God in, for real, right now, through Christ. But if you are not pursuing Him yourself, seriously, every moment of the day, you cannot teach us how.”