A New Generation of Apostles

“There is an urgent need for the emergence of a new generation of apostles anchored firmly in the word of Christ, capable of responding to the challenges of our times and prepared to spread the Gospel far and wide.” Pope Benedict XVI, Feb. 22, 2006

While skimming through the YouCat, in preparation for September and a new school year, I came across this part that really struck a chord for me. Here is the excerpt:

“11. Why do we hand on the faith? We hand on the faith because Jesus commands us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).   No genuine Christian leaves the transmission of the faith exclusively to specialists (teachers, pastors, missionaries).  We are Christ for others.  This means that every genuine Christian would like God to come to other people, too.” 

This spoke to me because I am the teacher, and yet sometimes it doesn’t feel like I am doing enough.  I know that what I do is a good thing and it is what I am called to be, but what about when I’m not the teacher? How do I act around my friends, family and would they even know I am a Christian? I certainly do not wear my faith on my sleeve in public and, unless asked, will not bring up the topic of religion with my non-religious friends. I am just overly concerned with offending people.  This is where I feel I am failing as an apostle of Jesus.

For a time I was involved in “spreading the Gospel” on the internet, particularly in Facebook discussions, and especially where people had misconceptions about Catholicism.  I found that my faith and knowledge grew leaps and bounds, but then I eventually got tired of feeling like I was talking to a brick wall.  I also discovered, as many others do, that the internet can be an all consuming obsession.  This cartoon brings to mind my life a couple years ago.

I realized that this form of evangelizing, although I found so helpful earlier, was now distressing me.  I knew that if I was feeling distressed, it was a pretty good indicator, that I was not helping the situation and thus gave up on my internet crusade.

But now that I am a teacher and doing evangelizing at my school.  It has given me a renewed sense of hope. I feel happy and fulfilled doing this and know that I am on the right path. I sometimes still feel that I am being cowardly.  It’s so easy to talk about your Faith when you work at a Catholic school and it almost feels like I’m cheating (especially when so many people are being persecuted for evangelizing).  Yet, God knows my weakness, and perhaps he is using this great opportunity, of working at a Catholic school, to build up my courage and strengthen my faith, so that when the time comes I will be ready for another challenge.

In the mean time, I will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit guides me in knowing when and when not to speak and that my actions will always speak louder than my words.  That I can live out my life in a way that reflects outwards, my inward feelings of peace, love and joy that I get from my faith.

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