Four simple ways to bring holiness into your world.
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29th) is a good reminder that all of us are called to be apostles.
“Oh, heck!” I can hear some of you thinking. “I have way too much on my plate already. I sure don’t have any spare time to run around preaching.” Relax! There are many ways to be an apostle, which basically means someone who is living out his mission as a disciple of Jesus, someone always on the lookout to make other disciples.
As lay men and women, your primary duty is to sanctify, that is, bring some holiness into, what’s called the “temporal order”–your home, your neighborhood, your place of work, your school, the stores where you shop, your favorite movie theatre, golf course or beach. When you pull out of the parking lot after Mass, you are entering into the temporal order.
And you do this by the way you live your life and by your apostolic activity.
Here are four simple ways.
First, the apostolate of prayer. We need to pray every day for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls. This is why our time in adoration, daily Mass, our daily Rosary and our penances are so important.
Some people are called to the apostolate of prayer. These are the mystics of the parish. They don’t “do” much and they don’t say much, but their life of prayer and penance is the engine that keeps a parish alive and well.
Second, is the apostolate of the smile. Society is filled with sad people. As a seminarian, we were always told in spiritual talks that your smile belongs to everyone else. It doesn’t belong to you. That’s a great principle to keep in mind: your smile belongs to others.
We get a boost from people who smile all the time. It’s wonderful to work with those who have joy and a positive attitude.
As a disciple of Jesus, your smile tells everyone that you possess an immense treasure. Your smile tells everyone that in your daily life you experience concretely the unconditional love of God.
“Thanks solely to this encounter — or renewed encounter — with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores umeaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” (Pope Francis,
Evangelii Gaudium, no. 8).
Third, is the apostolate of kindness. Continuous and spontaneous acts of kindness are the surest signs of a disciple of Jesus. Kindness can be carried out in two main ways.
One way is through continuous and spontaneous acts of service that we do for others. Serving others during meals, washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, getting coffee for others at work, cutting the grass for an elderly neighbor and visiting the sick are just some of the many small ways we can show kindness to others.
The other way we show kindness is in how we speak to others. We respect the good name of other people instead of gossiping about them. We dialogue with others rather than argue. We control our short fuse by being patient, and we never insult others. Kindness in speech is also expressed with a gentle tone rather than one that is abrupt or harsh.
Lastly is the apostolate of action. It’s important to keep in mind that apostles are not activists. The Church doesn’t need activists; she needs apostles. Prayer is the soul of the apostolate. An apostle is a true Christian who has a vibrant, dynamic and enthusiastic relationship with Jesus. An apostle is someone in love with Jesus who shares that love with everyone.