Taking our apostolic mission seriously
Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
That gospel episode of Christ choosing his apostles practically randomly (cfr. Mk 3,13-19) can remind us of many things. First is that we are actually all apostles since if we are to be “another Christ” as we should, we cannot help but get involved in the continuing redemptive work of Christ.
Another consideration would be that to be truly apostolic, we should have the same attitude of Christ to serve and not to be served, without counting the cost, effort and sacrifice that it will involve. This is the pure language of love that can go all the way even to the extent of offering one’s life for the others.
We have to do everything to acquire, develop and enrich this attitude in ourselves and among ourselves, inspiring and inculcating it in others as much as we can, for it is what is truly proper of us all.
With God’s grace, we have to exert effort to overcome the understandable awkwardness and tension involved in blending the natural and the supernatural aspects of this affair, as well as the expected resistance we can give, due to the effects of our natural limitations and weakness, and our sins.
We can make use of our daily events to cultivate this attitude. For example, as soon as we wake up from sleep in the morning, perhaps the first thing we have to do is address ourselves to God and say “Serviam” (I will serve). It’s the most logical thing to do, given who God is and who we are in relation to him.
And “Serviam” is a beautiful aspiration that can immediately put us in the proper frame of mind for the day. It nullifies Satan’s “Non serviam” and our tendency to do our own will instead of God’s, which is what sin, in essence, is all about.
And as we go through our day, let’s see to it that everything we do is done as a service to God and to others. Let’s not do them merely out of self-interest or self-satisfaction. That kind of attitude is highly poisonous to us, ruinous to our duty to love. Sooner or later, we will find ourselves completely engulfed by self-centeredness.
For us to be able to do things as service of love to God and to others, we have to continually rectify our intentions. We should be quick to react when we notice that our intentions and motivations are already invaded by self-interest.
It’s not that we cannot and should not care about ourselves or pursue interests that are beneficial to us. We can and, in fact, should. But all that should be done as a function of the love of God, for what is truly good for us is when what we do, either for us or for others, is inspired by the love of God. Otherwise, it would be harmful to us.
It is God’s love that gives us what is truly good to all of us. Our own approximations of love that are not inspired by God’s love can only go so far, and most likely will end up harming more than helping us.
In the practical side, we have to make daily apostolic plans, setting goals, identifying persons to deal with, setting up occasions for a deeper apostolic work. It definitely pays if we sharpen our skills in friendship, because only when we are truly friends with others that we can win their confidence.