Sanctification in Daily Work
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Evening of Recollection

Exposition at Immaculate Conception ChurchI just completed an evening of recollection at Immaculate Conception in Dardenne Prairie, MO. I’ll add a photo later since I’m posting this from my phone on the way home.

Fr. Jay Alvarez gave two meditation talks on St. Paul’s call to be an Apostle and proclaim the Gospel, something we’re all called to do.

Post update: Fr. Jay was taking points for his talk from the Holy Father’s General Audience of last September 10. Here are some key points from Pope Benedict’s remarks:

Therefore, according to St Paul’s conception, what is it that makes him and others apostles? In his Letters three principal characteristics of the true apostle appear. The first is to have “seen Jesus our Lord” (cf. 1 Cor 9: 1), that is, to have had a life-changing encounter with him. Similarly, in his Letter to the Galatians (cf. 1: 15-16) Paul was to say that he had been called or chosen, almost, through God’s grace with the revelation of his Son, in view of proclaiming the Good News to the Gentiles. In short, it is the Lord who appoints to the apostolate and not one’s own presumption. The apostle is not made by himself but is made such by the Lord; consequently the apostle needs to relate constantly to the Lord. Not without reason does Paul say that he is “called to be an apostle” (Rm 1: 1), in other words, “an apostle – not from men nor through human means, but “through Jesus Christ and God the Father” (Gal 1: 1). This is the first characteristic: to have seen the Lord, to have been called by him.

The second characteristic is “to have been sent”. The same Greek term apostolos means, precisely, “sent, dispatched”, that is as ambassador and bearer of a message; he must therefore act as having been charged and as representing a sender. It is for this reason that Paul describes himself as an “apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1: 1; 2 Cor 1: 1), that is, his delegate, placed totally at his service, even to the point that he also calls himself “a servant of Christ Jesus” (Rm 1: 1). Once again the idea of someone else’s initiative comes to the fore, the initiative of God in Jesus Christ, to whom Paul is fully indebted; but special emphasis is placed on the fact that Paul has received from him a mission to carry out in his name, making every personal interest absolutely secondary.

The third requisite is the task of “proclaiming the Gospel”, with the consequent foundation of Churches. Indeed, the title of “apostle” is not and cannot be honorary. It involves concretely and even dramatically the entire life of the person concerned. In his First Letter to the Corinthians Paul exclaims: “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?” (9: 1). Similarly in the Second Letter to the Corinthians he says: “You yourselves are our letters of recommendation… a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (3: 2-3).

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