Sunday, July 04, 2010

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time - C: The Apostolate

Luke 10:

After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say,
'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.' Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.

The Way: 934

Apostolic zeal is a divine craziness I want you to have. Its symptoms are: hunger to know the Master; constant concern for souls; perseverance that nothing can shake.

1) Hunger to Know the Master: Benedict XVI re: the persona of St. Josemaria Escriva:

There is something which one immediately notices when one comes in contact with the life of Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer and his writings – a very vivid sense of the presence of Christ. ‘Stir up that fire of faith. Christ is not a figure that has passed. He is not a memory that is lost in history. He lives! “Jesus Christus heri et hodie, ipse et in saecula”, says Saint Paul, – “Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday, and as he will be for ever”,’ wrote Josemaría Escrivá in The Way (584).

“This Christ who is alive is also a Christ who is near, a Christ in whom the power and majesty of God make themselves present through ordinary, simple human beings.

”One can, then, speak of Josemaría Escrivá having a marked and special type of Christ-centeredness, in which contemplation of Jesus’ life on earth and contemplation of his living presence in the Eucharist lead one to discover God; and from God they throw light onto the circumstances of our everyday life.”

How did St. Josemaria Escriva achieve this Christ-centeredness?

Alvaro del Portillo: “On the last day of 1971, our Father wrote in his diary words which he would later repeat on many an occasion: ‘This is our destiny on earth: to go on struggling for the sake of love until the very last moment. Deo gratias!’ He put these words into practice all the days of his life, striving constantly to root out anything that might pull him away from God. And so that we might never forget this teaching, he asked for these words to be engraved on the last stone of Cavabianca – the new home of the roman College of the Holy Cross. We were able to carry out this wish only after his death.

“He devoted himself tirelessly to becoming a more and more docile instrument for the mission God had entrusted to him. He never stopped working on his own character and training himself in the practice of the virtues. Throughout his life, through a detailed, in-depth, and thoroughly honest examination of conscience, he kept discovering new areas in which he could improve. He set himself demanding goals for the purpose of following through on the inspirations he received from God, and his main tactic was to struggle in the little things. ‘“Great holiness,” he said, ‘consists in carrying out the “little” duties of each moment’ (The Way, point No. 817).”

Aside: The principal insight of Ratzinger-Benedict XVI on eschatology (Theology of the Last Things) is working presence of Christ in each moment, a presence he refers to as playing hide and seek with us.

“God has become man. He has become a child. Thus he fulfills the great an mysterious promise to be Emmanuel: God-with-us. Now he is no longer unreachable for anybody. God is Emmanuel. By becoming a child, he offers us the possibility of being on familiar terms with im. I am reminded here of a rabbinical tale recorded by Elie Wiesel. He tells of Jehel, a little boy, who comes running into the room of his grandfather, the famous Rabbi Baruch. Big tears are rolling down his cheeks. And he cries, ‘My friend has totally given up on me. He is very unfair and very mean to me.’ ‘Wee, could you explain this a little more?’ asks the Master. ‘Okay,’ responds the little boy. ‘We were playing hide and seek. I was hiding so well that he could not find me. But then he simply gave up and went home. Isn’t that mean.’ The most exciting hiding place has lost its excitement because the other stops playing. The Master caresses the boy’s face. He himself now has tears in his eyes. And he says, ‘Yes, this is not nice. But look, it is the same way with God. He is in hiding, and we do not seek him. Just imaging! God is hiding, and we people do not even look for him.’

“In this little story a Christian is able to find the key to the ancient mystery of Christmas. God is in hiding. He waits for his creation to set out toward him, he waits for a new and willing Yes to come about, for love to arise as a new reality out of his creation. He waits for man.”[1]

The Struggle of St. Josemaria in Playing “Hide and Go Seek:”

“I must not ask questions merely out of curiosity;

I must not complain about anything to anyone, except to seek direction;

I must not flatter, or criticize;

Be sociable at home and make a point of talking with the others;”

His personal examination in 1956:

Do I seek union with Jesus in the tabernacle?

Do I transform into action my desire to win new apostles?

Do I turn to our Lady and St. Joseph, as patrons of the Work, to learn how to keep close to our Lord?

Do I carry out and live with love the norms and customs of the Work?

Do I constantly greet my Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Am I friends with my guardian angel and with the guardian angels of the others??

Am I generous in the small and continuous mortifications of each day?

Do I remember to select for myself - when the choice is left u to me – whatever is most disagreeable?

Do I live in a spirit of penance?

Doi I give a supernatural tone to my conversations?

Do I try not to argue, and do I know how to listen to the points other people make?

Do I go in search of praise, or seek thanks for my acts of service?

Can people entrust me with whatever job needs tos be done, in the sure knowledge that I’ll see it through and report back sincerely, without looking for excuses, on how I have carried it out?

Do I act with charity, with affection, evern in periods of relaxation?

Do I try to avoid treating anyone in a special way just because I like them – do I try to avoid favoritism?

Do I forget that my holiness consists in rectifying my intention while carrying out the duties of each moment?

Do I take due care in preparing to receive the holy sacraments?

So I do my midday and evening examinations of conscience with sincerity and courage?

Do I carry out, as well as I should, my particular examination of conscience?

D. Alvaro: “As you can see, almost all these questions are aimed at maintaining or increasing intimacy with God.”[2]

2) Constant Concern for Souls:

3) Perseverance That Nothing Can Shake.

[1] J. Ratzinger “Co-Workers of the Truth” Ignatius (1992) 407.

[2] Cesare Cavalleri, “Immersed in God” Scepter/Sinag-Tala (1996) 99-101.

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