Sunday 18 March 2012

Apostolic Activity

"Apostolicam Actuositatem", the Vatican Council Decree of the mission of lay people presents a wonderful vision of the Christian life of the baptised. Becuase this vision does not concern the performance of a multipilicty of tasks on the altar during Mass, but rather the way in which lay people are called to Christianise the world, this document is somewhat forgotten.

Nevertheless, the vision of this document comes from the heart of the Gospel and of the Church - "You go into my vineyard!" Why does he say this? Becuase he, the Christ, is the hope of humanity.

Because we are baptised we have a new dignity which comes from Christ, and we are called to sanctify the world through our presence and our activity. First of all then, we are called to be holy and to belong to a communion - the Universal Communion of the Church. This is done by being established in a parish, and also sometimes in groups or associations. Being established in a parish enables us to respond to the call to union with Christ (holiness), it enables us to embrace our responsibility for professing the Catholic faith, to witness to the communion of the Church, to build our lives upon the Church's apostolic goals and to commit to being a presence of Christ in human society.

Within the dialogue that takes place between Christ and those he calls, there is a process of Christian formation. This process includes human and Christian formation. This formation is to lead to the living of a unified and integrated life in Christ, where one's personal culture becomes integrated with doctrinal and spiritual formation; the person and the community become themselves a centre of spiritual renewal in the world, because they offer Christ to others.

This vision was taken up by Bl John Paul II is his 1988 Letter "Christifideles Laici"; another wonderful teaching document which proposes the New Evangelisation on the basis of the renewal of the parish. Two documents deserving of particular attention today.

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