Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Best Fifteen Bucks I Have Spent In A Long Time

As many of you know, I'm always in search for resources that can help lay Catholics live out their mission and vocation more fully. There are a number out there (e.g., CFL, the writings of Bl. Escriva), but to date I have never come across one I considered extremely helpful for the day-to-day efforts at living out the call to holiness.

That was, until about a month ago. Some of you may recall my post a while back mentioning my discovery of a little book by Fr. Edward F. Gareshé, The Everyday Apostle. I have finished reading it. It is a treasure and I recommend you consider investing in a copy of your own. (Hmm, if a large enough number of you place orders with Sophia Institute Press via the link above, will they notice that the traffic came from Integrity?) To wet your appetite, here's the table of contents and a few quotations:

  • The Apostleship of the Common Man: Carry out God's work in your everyday life. "Where the priest may not enter unsuspected, the common Catholic is already there, a familiar and a friend. His common talk is listened to with interest and without suspicion; his testimony is accepted; his teaching will pass current as the word of a friend. Without suspicion, without prejudice, he can, if it is prudent and tactful, preach the saving truths of his Faith in a thousand places, where the word of a priest of God would be met only with anger, or distrust, or disdain."

  • The Apostleship of Speech: Let your conversation draw others to Christ. "If a readiness to share money, influence, and opportunities is looked for between friends, how much more should there be a frank and willing communication of those eternal truths which enrich and ennoble a man's immortal soul."

  • The Apostleship of Service: Accept every opportunity to do good. "He gives to us these duties, these opportunities, these suggestions of His grace -- to us and to no others, no angel and no saint. He gives them to us as we are, not as we might, or could, or would, or should have been. ... For the one word that [our brother] will take may be one that only we could give him."

  • The Apostleship of the Home: Make your home a place of holiness. "[We] would like to have more really Catholic talk at Catholic firesides. By Catholic, I do not mean parish talk or church talk, still less talk merely about Catholic men and women, but talk that is concerned with subjects of truly Catholic interest and inspired with Catholic feelings and Catholic thought."

  • The Apostleship of Encouragement: Inspire others with courage and cheer. "We are too likely to forget, in our superior way, that it is mere downright discouragement and dispiritedness about themselves and their own possibilities of reform which keep many, many poor sinners groveling in their sin. Get a man into a hopeful, eager spirit within himself, keen and sanguine about his own chances of improvement, and you will have given him an immense lift along the paths of righteousness and perfection."

  • The Apostleship of Praise: Praise what is worthy. "All of us, whether we like it or not, are moved by other men's authority and depend on their judgment and lean on their estimate of the value of things. What they praise, we are apt to esteem more highly; what they blame is lessened in our sight. If they are contemptuous or indifferent, we are very likely to be inclined to contempt or indifference, too."

  • The Apostleship of Speech in Business: Conduct yourself in a holy way in your workplace. "[M]any folk seem almost to have lost the sense of right and wrong in dealing with their neighbor's reputation. ... We have planted the fruitful seeds of aversion and suspicion in our hearer's hearts. The memory of our words ... may die away from their minds, ... [but] thereafter when the name of the person we spoke ill of comes to their ears, the lingering prejudice born of our unkind talk will rise up, and they will dislike and distrust him."

  • The Apostleship of Character: Wear a Catholic face. "There is something in the wholesome moral atmosphere that a true-hearted Catholic bears about him, which has a solemn eloquence to proclaim his Faith to his fellowmen."

  • The Apostleship of Counsel: Steer others away from error. "If we see a friend of ours wasting his toil in a bogus venture, or spending good money on worthless stock, we hurry and give him the word. May we not do as much in matters of eternal moment, when the gold at stake is the gold of heavenly merit, with which a man must buy of his God the kingdom without end?"

  • The Apostleship of Charity: Assist those in need. "Not that other good deeds are disregarded, nor that other crimes shall fail of their just retribution on that awful day [Judgment day]. But it is of these works of charity that we are most strongly reminded [in the parable of the goats and sheep], because it is these that even good men seem likeliest to forget."

  • The Apostleship of Consistency: Live your faith in word and deed. "There is an argument stronger with most men than any logic -- a way of preaching that is open to everyone and to which no soul can choose but listen: the argument of steadfast good example, a consistent living up to our Catholic principles and our Catholic beliefs."

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