HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







The Soul Of The Apostolate

The union of the two lives, contemplative and active, constitutes the true apostolate, the chief work of Christianity: principalissimum officium, as St. Thomas says.

III, a. 67, a. 2, ad i.

The apostolate implies souls capable of being carried away with enthusiasm for an idea, of consecrating themselves to the triumph of a principle. When the realization of this ideal is supernaturalized by the interior spirit, and when our zeal, in its end, its center, and its means is quickened by the spirit of Christ, we shall have the life which is in itself the most perfect of all, the highest possible life, since the theologians prefer it even to simple contemplation: praefertur simplici contemplatione.

St. Thomas.

The apostolate of a man of prayer is the word of the Gospel, conquering with the mandate of God; it is the zeal for souls, the ripening of conversions for the harvest: missio a Deo, zelus animarum, fructificatio auditorum.

St. Bonaventure.

It is a vapor rising from faith, breathing forth health-giving exhalations: zelus, id est vapor fidei.

St. Ambrose.

The apostolate of the saints sows seed all over the world. The apostle casts into souls the wheat of God.

Fr. Léon, passim, op. cit.

It is a blazing fire of love that devours the earth, the great fire of Pentecost, spreading unchecked across the nations of the world. “I am come to cast fire on the earth.”

Ignem veni mittere in terram (Luc. 12:49).

The sublimity of this ministry lies in the fact that is provides for the salvation of others, without danger to the apostle himself: sublimatur ad hoc ut aliis provideat. To transmit divine truths to the intellects of men! Is not this ministry worthy of angels?

It is a good thing to contemplate the truth, and better still to pass it on to others. To reflect the light is something more than simply to receive it. It is better to give light, than to shine under a bushel. By contemplation the soul is fed: by the apostolate, it gives itself away. Sicut majus est illuminare quam lucere solum, ita majus est contemplata aliis tradere quamsolum contemplare.

St. Thomas, 2a 2ae, q. 188, a. 6.

Contemplata aliis tradere: prayer remains at the source of this ideal of the apostolate. Such is the unmistaking meaning of St. Thomas.

This passage, like the words of the holy doctor that were quoted at the end of the preceding chapter, are an open condemnation of so-called “Americanism,” the partisans of which envisage a mixed life in which contemplation is strangled by activity.

Two things are implied by this text. 1) That the soul is already habitually living a life of prayer, and doing so with sufficient intensity not to need to draw upon anything but its surplus, for others. 2) That action must not supersede the life of prayer, and that the soul, while spending itself, must be so well trained in keeping watch over its heart that it runs no risk of withdrawing its actions from the influence of Christ.

The beautiful words of Fr. Matheo, apostle of the enthroning of the Sacred Heart in the home, exactly express the thought of St. Thomas in their own way: “The apostle is a chalice full to the brim with the life of Jesus, and his overflow pours itself out upon souls.”

It is this mixture of action, with all its outpouring of zeal, and of contemplation with its lofty flights, that produced the greatest of the saints: St. Denis, St. Martin, St. Bernard, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Alphonsus—all of them just as ardent contemplatives as they were mighty apostles.

Interior life and active life! Holiness within works! A powerful union, and a fruitful one. What miracles of conversion it can work! O God, send many apostles to Thy Church, but stir up in their hearts, already consumed with the desire to give themselves, a desperate sense of their need for the life of prayer. Grant to Thy workers this contemplative activity, and active contemplation. Then Thy work will be done, and the workers of Thy Gospel will win those victories which Thou didst foretell to them before Thy glorious Ascension.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com