Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Only when a person has been touched by Christ and opened up by him

Apostolic Life

If the "apostolic" element is the place of movements in the Church, then the desire for the vita apostolica must be fundamental to her in all ages. The renunciation of property, of descendants, of any effort to impose one's own idea of the Church -- that is, obedience in following Christ -- have in all ages been regarded as the essential elements of the apostolic life, which cannot of course apply in the same way for all those participating in a movement but which are in varying ways points orienting each person's own life that are relevant for everyone. The apostolic life, in turn, is not an end in itself; rather, it creates freedom to serve. An apostolic life calls out for apostolic action: there is in the first place -- again, in varying fashion -- the proclamation of the Gospel as the missionary element. In following Christ, evangelizing always takes first place: evangelizare pauperibus - proclaiming the Gospel to the poor. Yet this never takes place through words alone: love, which constitutes its inner heart, both the center of its truth and the heart of its activity, has to be lived out and has in that sense to be a proclamation. Thus social service is always associated with the Gospel in some form or other. All this presupposes... a personal encounter with Christ at a deep level... Only when a person has been touched by Christ and opened up by him in his deepest heart can the other person also be touched in his heart; only in that case can reconciliation be effected in the Holy Spirit; only then can true community grow.

- Pope Benedict XVI Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith, pp. 204-205.

(my emphasis)

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