Eucharist should sharpen our apostolic sense

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

If we truly have faith and love in the Holy Eucharist, if we are truly Eucharistic souls, then we cannot help but be intensely and abidingly apostolic souls as well.

In fact, we need to be most zealous in our apostolate, since it actually is a duty incumbent on all Christian believers to have and to keep burning all throughout their lives, making use of all the situations and circumstances we may find themselves in.

Everytime we hear Mass, receive Holy Communion or visit the Blessed Sacrament, we should remember those final and most heart-felt words of Christ to his apostles: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation…" (Mk 16,15)

These words clearly indicate how Christ wants his work of redemption to continue. This time it will be carried out as a joint effort between him and us. While we are first of all the object of his redemptive work, we also become the subject of such work with him.

That's because Christ looks and treats us as he treats himself, since we are the image and likeness of God, children of his. His concerns and work become ours too.

But let's always remember that this duty to do apostolate can be done only if we are vitally united with Christ with a unity that has its best form or highest degree here on earth in the Holy Eucharist.

Without that unity that is akin to that of the branches to the vine, we would just be on our own, alive and vibrant for a while propped by some highly perishable things, but sooner or later will just collapse.

This commissioning of the apostles that is also applicable to us reflects Christ's burning desire that his work of redemption has to go on till the end of time. His salvific work just cannot be made a part of the past. It has to continue, for that in fact comprises the ultimate goal for all of us, believers. We are not meant only to have an earthly goal, but one that transcends time and space.

This is what the IEC is trying to show in stressing the social dimensions of the Eucharist. It is about doing apostolate which should come as an organic outgrowth of our spiritual life, our Eucharistic life. If we don't feel this impulse to do apostolate, we can suspect that all our apparently fervent profession of faith and love for the Eucharist is largely a sentimental affair, or just some hot air.

Doing apostolate is the very concrete expression of how to tackle the social dimensions of the Eucharist. It involves many things. We need to be rooted in Christ through prayer, sacrifice, development of virtues, recourse to the sacraments, study of the doctrine, etc.

We need to come up with some daily personal apostolic plan that should cover all the possibilities of doing apostolate, first of all in our immediate environment and then radiating to farther and wider circles. Of course, this has to consider our personal conditions and circumstances.

Basically, the personal apostolate has to be grounded on the spirit of true friendship and confidence. So, a lot of time has to be spent getting directly in touch with friends, as well as developing true social virtues to keep that friendship going-like affability, openness, warmth, loyalty, etc. In other words, we should try to be "all things to all men," as St. Paul once said.

We have to be well versed with the doctrine of our faith, going all the way to mastering the Church's social doctrine, so relevant in tackling the big issues of the day, so that our apostolate is substantive and effective.

In our apostolic plan, we have to follow a certain order and hierarchy of priorities, given the different considerations that we have to make. While we have to make sure that our apostolate has a universal orientation, we need to give due attention to the different distinctions in human life-the spiritual and material, the eternal and temporal, the sacred and mundane, the mainstream and marginalized.

It would be good that some continuing program of apos-tolic formation be developed, sustained and improved by appropriate entities. This is actually an urgent matter that has been taken for granted for a long time already. It now demands immediate attention and action.

Again, we should not forget that all the impulses we need to pursue these objectives spring from our intimate contact with Christ, especially in the Holy Eucharist. May the Eucharist inflame us with apostolic zeal! We should feel deeply responsible for one another.

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