August 26, 2007

Fr. Roy Cimagala

Apostolic zeal

I WONDER how many people realize that their life as Christian believers involve them to be apostolic, that is, constantly concerned with bringing souls to God. There appear signs many are completely ignorant of this life’s purpose.

To do apostolate is a necessary consequence of being a follower of Christ. Our Lord did not preach about holiness only. He wants everyone to help everybody else attain sanctity. Otherwise, one’s claim of sanctity is empty.

In no unclear terms, Our Lord said:

“All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father…, teaching them to observe all things…, and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt 28,18-20)

While given directly to the apostles, these words are actually meant for all those who profess to believe and to follow Christ. The whole exciting, overwhelming world of Christianity as lived and taught by Christ is entrusted to all of us to share and spread among ourselves.

Actually, the apostolate is the ultimate purpose of our life here on earth. It’s not some achievement or success in the professions or in politics or in just any human endeavor. It’s apostolate, helping one another achieve holiness.

This truth simply corresponds to the ultimate truth about ourselves. We are not just creatures with earthly ends. We are children of God, made in his image and likeness, meant to participate in his very own supernatural life.

That’s why, we are basically a religious being. Even if such awareness may be stifled by a number of reasons, there is in us a basic thirst for God, who is beyond what our nature can give and make us understand.

We just have to learn to foster and nourish this thirst and hunger for God, by being able to relate everything that we do to God. Apostolate is about relating everything to God. Otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves.

Besides, it is in our nature to care for one another. No man can ever live alone. He necessarily lives with others. He needs others. This is true not only in our material needs, but also in our spiritual concerns.

This is the big challenge we are facing today. Many of us are entangled with earthly affairs, with visions and horizons that do not go beyond the physical limits of our present life.

There is a crying need for Christian believers who are so consistent with their faith that their every action and involvement in earthly matters leads others to the realization of God’s existence and his loving plan for us.

For this, a genuine spiritual life is needed, for the apostolate cannot be other than an overflow of one’s life with God. Separated from God, one would never feel the urge to do apostolate. He can only be held captive by mundane matters.

Of course, that spiritual life is developed through prayer and sacrifice, our usual way to identify ourselves with Christ. Together with this, we need to avail ourselves of the sacraments and assimilate Christ’s doctrine.

Plus, a good grounding of present situation and crisis we are facing today. What makes people ignore God, commit sin almost without any sense of guilt, simply concern themselves with purely earthly affairs, should be known.

Apostolate, while a phenomenon of grace, also requires our utmost efforts to grapple with real problems besetting people. Thus, it can only flourish in an atmosphere of friendship, of trust and confidence with an apostolic friend.

There should be a scientific effort to know the causes of the crisis. For this, an interdisciplinary approach is most welcome, since things now are complicated, and problems can have multiple causes.

There is need for today’s apostles to be mature and knowledgeable of things around us, never naïve with the things of this world. They should be beyond being easily scandalized.

They should be able to give a credible witness and defense to their faith. In all this, they should ooze with charity and understanding, always encouraging, staying away from unnecessary conflicts and resentments. (Email:

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