Freedom In Dependence: 30 Days Closer to Christ

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I make myself totally empty of self so that You can fill me with Your humble paths of love. These same three ingredients will keep a child of God in tune with Him — Prayer, Fasting, and the Study of the Word are the key ingredients to crucifying the flesh that the spirit within might live. The devil was not successful in getting Jesus to succumb to temptation, because Jesus was strengthened in His resolve to withstand through prayer and fasting.

Reflect upon the following —. He gave up His life. How do we die to ourselves? We must stand before God in utter helplessness, and consent heartily to the fact that we are impotent to slay ourselves — we must sink down into our own nothingness, in a spirit of meek and patient surrender to God.

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God accepts such humbling of ourselves as the proof that our whole heart truly desires it, thus preparing us for His mighty work of grace that transforms us into His likeness. What a hopeless task it would be if we had to do the work ourselves! We must simply claim in faith the death and the life of Jesus as being ours — and humble ourselves every day into that perfect, helpless dependence upon God.

As we sink every morning into the deep, deep nothingness of the grave of Jesus, every day the life of Jesus will be manifested in us. Ultimately, only God can make us grow. God causes the growth, but we need to do the planting and the watering. We have a vital role in how much we grow in the Lord.

Our part is to cooperate with Him by planting the truth in our hearts and watering it. Directing our hearts toward God , through the prayerful study of His Word, must be at the core of how we live the Christian life. Scripture is very clear on our need to direct our hearts toward God — spiritual growth will result when we apply discipline to maintain our faith, hope and love toward God.

Carrying our cross is not an end in itself — dying is the path to real living. By dying to our earthly ways, we exit the darkness and enter into the light, and there is where we experience times of refreshing and life to the full — in the presence of God! Remember, God dwells in the light! As our lives are transformed, we will project the light of His holiness into the darkness of our evil world.

Real life — abundant life — begins with dying to self. Other Noteworthy Quotes. Charles Spurgeon — I have now concentrated all my prayers into one Packer — Jesus Christ demands self-denial, that is, self-negation, as a necessary condition of discipleship. Self-denial is a summons to submit to the authority of God as Father and of Jesus as Lord Thomas a Kempis — The more a man dies to himself, the more he begins to live unto God. Moody — Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.

Arthur Pink — Growth in grace It is a deep- ening realization of our nothingness. Ignatius — Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him. Of all other vices, it is both the hardest to find out, and the hardest to cure. A collection of studies from a select group of authors.

The word "broken" generally conjures up a negative image in our minds. Something that is broken is usually not wanted and is considered useless to us. When talking about a person, someone who is described as broken is usually in dire straights and at a precarious point in his or her life. No one wants to be " broken ". In God's dictionary, however, brokenness is a crucial characteristic for a Christian.

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In David's psalm of repentance after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his adulterous liaison with Bathsheba and his successfully murderous plan of her husband Uriah, David said to the Lord: "You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; nor are You pleased with burnt offering.

Additionally, the prophet Isaiah said: "For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy. So what exactly is spiritual brokenness? No, brokenness is understanding the fact that without God you are spiritually bankrupt — it is totally giving up on yourself dying to self and giving Him the reigns of your life. Surrender and brokenness go hand-in-hand — spiritual brokenness is surrendering your will to God.

Spiritual brokenness is knowing that, without God, you are, and can do, nothing. It is a cry from the depths of your soul that shouts: "God, I need You! I want You! You are everything to me! However, brokenness is anything but negative! It is the way to the heart of God. Think for a moment about a wild stallion that a rancher buys. It is strong, beautiful, and wild! It calls the shots and does what it wants. It has enormous potential to the rancher but in it's wild state it is not useful to him.

So the master must "break" the horse of it's will. To be sure, the horse doesn't like the breaking process and fights the rancher with all his strength. Also, before it is broken, the wild stallion will not sit still long enough to experience the gentle caress and loving care of his master.

But after it is broken, it now understands just how much his master loves him, and experiences his warm embrace and gentle care. But when we trust Christ as Savior i. Like the wild horse, we don't like the breaking process. It hurts and we fight against God with all our strength.

After all, we want to be in charge! For some, unfortunately, they fight Him all their lives and never come to the point of being fully broken, and miss out on the most important thing in life — intimacy with God. However, for those of us who are finally broken of "self", we become useful to God, we bear much fruit, and fulfill the destiny He has planned for us in this life. Most importantly, we come into an intimate, loving relationship with our Master. We are each on a journey of brokenness — have you reached that point in life where you now fully understand that God is everything absolutely everything in your life?

Have you surrendered your will to Him so that His will for you is all you desire? Walk this Christian life long enough and God the Father, thru the ministry of the Holy Spirit, will graciously guide you thru the Valley of Brokenness. This valley is no easy journey. On the one hand, the Valley of Brokenness is painful, humbling, and pride-crushing. On the other hand, this same valley is one of delight. Let me explain. The pain springs forth from many things, none more excruciating than being confronted by the wicked and rebellious sin that still inhabits our redeemed but fallen hearts.

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Admitting and confessing this reality is never easy for the very reason that we are terribly prideful people. The delight springs forth from knowing that God disciplines those He loves and uses the painful crucible of brokenness for purposes other than punitive judgment. Unfortunately, most Christians have not embraced this Gospel paradox. As a pastor, I implore Christians to approach the painful season of brokenness believing that what God is doing is not punitive — it is sanctifying.

It is Christ-exalting! God the Father is for you — not against you. You are His beloved child, a royal priest in His heavenly kingdom. You were bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Your sins have been forgiven and your unrighteousness has been cleansed.

Are you walking thru the Valley of Brokenness? Are you experiencing the disciplining hand of God the Father? Instead of running and resisting — rejoice! God is proving to you that you are His legitimate son or daughter. This is a Gospel paradigm that should make the heart of every Christian leap with joy and worship with thanksgiving in their heart.

Have you ever suffered a broken bone?


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None of us want to relive those kinds of moments. Because they are painful. Have you ever had a broken heart? A time of emotional distress where you really hurt? Some people would say that the broken heart was more painful than the broken bone. Most people have a real aversion to pain of any kind. Have you ever been spiritually broken? What I am referring to is this — when a believer becomes strongly convicted of sin in his life, and becomes so convicted that he mourns his present spiritual condition, he is humbled, and knows he must make a change.

This is the essence of spiritual brokenness. The truth of the matter is every true believer, every true Christ-follower needs to be broken spiritually, and usually more than once, in fact repeatedly throughout his life. This describes for us, the need for brokenness.

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In the Old Testament there is an incredible story of spiritual revival that took place. As we see in Ezra chapter nine, spiritual revival begins with spiritual brokenness. This brokenness over sin began with one man, Ezra, a priest and servant of God. In Ezra , Ezra prayed and confessed guilt, and wept before God. While he was doing this a multitude of people showed up and also began to weep. Jesus Also Wept Supplemental Thoughts. I wanted to shelter you, and spread My wings of comfort over you. If only you knew My love and mercy toward you.

If only you would have listened. Jesus had spent three years preaching to them throughout the land, but they would not listen. As far as possible the laity ought to provide helpful collaboration for every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by their local parish. They should develop an ever-increasing appreciation of their own diocese, of which the parish is a kind of cell, ever ready at their pastor's invitation to participate in diocesan projects. Indeed, to fulfill the needs of cities and rural areas, 3 they should not limit their cooperation to the parochial or diocesan boundaries but strive to extend it to interparochial, interdiocesan, national, and international fields.

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This is constantly becoming all the more necessary because the daily increase in mobility of populations, reciprocal relationships, and means of communication no longer allow any sector of society to remain closed in upon itself. Thus they should be concerned about the needs of the people of God dispersed throughout the world.

They should especially make missionary activity their own by giving material or even personal assistance. It is a duty and honor for Christians to return to God a part of the good things that they receive from Him. Since the Creator of all things has established conjugal society as the beginning and basis of human society and, by His grace, has made it a great mystery in Christ and the Church cf.

Christian husbands and wives are cooperators in grace and witnesses of faith for each other, their children, and all others in their household. They are the first to communicate the faith to their children and to educate them by word and example for the Christian and apostolic life. They prudently help them in the choice of their vocation and carefully promote any sacred vocation which they may discern in them. It has always been the duty of Christian married partners but today it is the greatest part of their apostolate to manifest and prove by their own way of life the indissolubility and sacredness of the marriage bond, strenuously to affirm the right and duty of parents and guardians to educate children in a Christian manner, and to defend the dignity and lawful autonomy of the family.

They and the rest of the faithful, therefore, should cooperate with men of good will to ensure the preservation of these rights in civil legislation and to make sure that governments give due attention to the needs of the family regarding housing, the education of children, working conditions, social security, and taxes; and that in policy decisions affecting migrants their right to live together as a family should be safeguarded. This mission-to be the first and vital cell of society-the family has received from God. It will fulfill this mission if it appears as the domestic sanctuary of the Church by reason of the mutual affection of its members and the prayer that they offer to God in common, if the whole family makes itself a part of the liturgical worship of the Church, and if it provides active hospitality and promotes justice and other good works for the service of all the brethren in need.

Among the various activities of the family apostolate may be enumerated the following: the adoption of abandoned infants, hospitality to strangers, assistance in the operation of schools, helpful advice and material assistance for adolescents, help to engaged couples in preparing themselves better for marriage, catechetical work, support of married couples and families involved in material and moral crises, help for the aged not only by providing them with the necessities of life but also by obtaining for them a fair share of the benefits of an expanding economy.

At all times and places but particularly in areas where the first seeds of the Gospel are being sown, or where the Church is just beginning, or is involved in some serious difficulty, Christian families can give effective testimony to Christ before the world by remaining faithful to the Gospel and by providing a model of Christian marriage through their whole way of life.

To facilitate the attainment of the goals of their apostolate, it can be useful for families to be brought together into groups. Young persons exert very important influence in modern society. Frequently they move too quickly into a new social and economic status. While their social and even their political importance is growing from day to day, they seem to be unable to cope adequately with their new responsibilities. Their heightened influence in society demands of them a proportionate apostolic activity, but their natural qualities also fit them for this activity.

As they become more conscious of their own personalities, they are impelled by a zest for life and a ready eagerness to assume their own responsibility, and they yearn to play their part in social and cultural life. If this zeal is imbued with the spirit of Christ and is inspired by obedience and love for the Church, it can be expected to be very fruitful. They should become the first to carry on the apostolate directly to other young persons, concentrating their apostolic efforts within their own circle, according to the needs of the social environment in which they live.

Adults ought to engage in such friendly discussion with young people that both age groups, overcoming the age barrier, may become better acquainted and share the special benefits each generation can offer the other. Adults should stimulate young persons first by good example to take part in the apostolate and, if the opportunity presents itself, by offering them effective advice and willing assistance.

By the same token young people should cultivate toward adults respect and trust, and although they are naturally attracted to novelties, they should duly appreciate praiseworthy traditions. The apostolate in the social milieu, that is, the effort to infuse a Christian spirit into the mentality, customs, laws, and structures of the community in which one lives, is so much the duty and responsibility of the laity that it can never be performed properly by others. In this area the laity can exercise the apostolate of like toward like.

It is here that they complement the testimony of life with the testimony of the word. The laity fulfill this mission of the Church in the world especially by conforming their lives to their faith so that they become the light of the world as well as by practicing honesty in all their dealings so that they attract all to the love of the true and the good and finally to the Church and to Christ. They fulfill their mission also by fraternal charity which presses them to share in the living conditions, labors, sorrows, and aspirations of their brethren with the result that the hearts of all about them are quietly prepared for the workings of saving grace.

Another requisite for the accomplishment of their task is a full consciousness of their role in building up society whereby they strive to perform their domestic, social, and professional duties with such Christian generosity that their manner of acting should gradually penetrate the whole world of life and labor. This apostolate should reach out to all wherever they may be encountered; it should not exclude any spiritual or temporal benefit which they have the ability to confer.

True apostles however, are not content with this activity alone but endeavor to announce Christ to their neighbors by means of the spoken word as well. For there are many persons who can hear the Gospel and recognize Christ only through the laity who live near them. Children also have their own apostolic work to do. According to their ability they are true living witnesses of Christ among their companions. A vast field for the apostolate has opened up on the national and international levels where the laity especially assist with their Christian wisdom.

In loyalty to their country and in faithful fulfillment of their civic obligations, Catholics should feel themselves obliged to promote the true common good. Thus they should make the weight of their opinion felt in order that the civil authority may act with justice and that legislation may conform to moral precepts and the common good.

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Catholics skilled in public affairs and adequately enlightened in faith and Christian doctrine should not refuse to administer pubic affairs since by doing this in a worthy manner they can both further the common good and at the same time prepare the way for the Gospel. Catholics should try to cooperate with all men and women of good will to promote whatever is true, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable cf.

They should hold discussions with them, excel them in prudence and courtesy, and initiate research on social and public practices which should be improved in line with the spirit of the Gospel. Among the signs of our times, the irresistibly increasing sense of the solidarity of all peoples is especially noteworthy. It is a function of the lay apostolate sedulously to promote this awareness and to transform it into a sincere and genuine love of brotherhood.

Furthermore, the laity should be aware of the international field and of the questions and solutions, doctrinal as well as practical, which arise in this field, with special reverence to developing nations. All who work in or give help to foreign nations must remember that relations among peoples should be a genuine fraternal exchange in which each party is at the same time a giver and a receiver.

Travelers, whether their interest is international affairs, business, or leisure, should remember that they are itinerant heralds of Christ wherever they go and should act accordingly. The laity can engage in their apostolic activity either as individuals or together as members of various groups or associations. The individual apostolate, flowing generously from its source in a truly Christian life cf. John , is the origin and condition of the whole lay apostolate, even of the organized type, and it admits of no substitute.

Regardless of status, all lay persons including those who have no opportunity or possibility for collaboration in associations are called to this type of apostolate and obliged to engage in it. This type of apostolate is useful at all times and places, but in certain circumstances it is the only one appropriate and feasible. There are many forms of the apostolate whereby the laity build up the Church, sanctify the world, and give it life in Christ.

A particular form of the individual apostolate as well as a sign specially suited to our times is the testimony of the whole lay life arising from faith, hope, and charity. It manifests Christ living in those who believe in Him. Then by the apostolate the spoken and written word, which is utterly necessary under certain circumstances, lay people announce Christ, explain and spread His teaching in accordance with one's status and ability, and faithfully profess it.

Furthermore, in collaborating as citizens of this world, in whatever pertains to the upbuilding and conducting of the temporal order, the laity must seek in the light of faith loftier motives of action in their family, professional, cultural, and social life and make them known to others when the occasion arises. Doing this, they should be aware of the fact that they are cooperating with God the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier and are giving praise to Him.

Finally, the laity should vivify their life with charity and express it as best they can in their works. They should all remember that they can reach all men and contribute to the salvation of the whole world by public worship and prayer as well as by penance and voluntary acceptance of the labors and hardships of life whereby they become like the suffering Christ cf. There is a very urgent need for this individual apostolate in those regions where the freedom of the Church is seriously infringed.

In these trying circumstances, the laity do what they can to take the place of priests, risking their freedom and sometimes their life to teach Christian doctrine to those around them, training them in a religious way of life and a Catholic way of thinking, leading them to receive the sacraments frequently and developing in them piety, especially Eucharistic devotion. The individual apostolate has a special field in areas where Catholics are few in number and widely dispersed.

Here the laity who engage in the apostolate only as individuals, whether for the reasons already mentioned or for special reasons including those deriving also from their own professional activity, usefully gather into smaller groups for serious conversation without any more formal kind of establishment or organization, so that an indication of the community of the Church is always apparent to others as a true witness of love.

In this way, by giving spiritual help to one another through friendship and the communicating of the benefit of their experience, they are trained to overcome the disadvantages of excessively isolated life and activity and to make their apostolate more productive. The faithful are called to engage in the apostolate as individuals in the varying circumstances of their life. They should remember, nevertheless, that man is naturally social and that it has pleased God to unite those who believe in Christ into the people of God cf.

The group apostolate of Christian believers then happily corresponds to a human and Christian need and at the same time signifies the communion and unity of the Church in Christ, who said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" Matt. For this reason the faithful should participate in the apostolate by way of united effort.

The group apostolate is very important also because the apostolate must often be performed by way of common activity both the Church communities and the various spheres. For the associations established for carrying on the apostolate in common sustain their members, form them for the apostolate, and rightly organize and regulate their apostolic work so that much better results can be expected than if each member were to act on his own.

In the present circumstances, it is quite necessary that, in the area of lay activity, the united and organized form of the apostolate be strengthened. In fact, only the pooling of resources is capable of fully achieving all the aims of the modern apostolate and firmly protecting its interests. Otherwise those engaged in the apostolate are often unable to bear up under the pressure of public opinion or of social institutions.

There is a great variety of associations in the apostolate. Some purpose to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order; others bear witness to Christ in a special way through works of mercy and charity. Among these associations, those which promote and encourage closer unity between the concrete life of the members and their faith must be given primary consideration. Associations are not ends unto themselves; rather they should serve the mission of the Church to the world. Their apostolic dynamism depends on their conformity with the goals of the Church as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of every member and of the whole association.

Now, in view of the progress of social institutions and the the fast- moving pace of modern society, the global nature of the Church's mission requires that apostolic enterprises of Catholics should more and more develop organized forms in the international sphere.

Catholic international organizations will more effectively achieve their purpose if the groups comprising them, as well as their members, are more closely united to these international organizations. Maintaining the proper relationship to Church authorities, 5 the laity have the right to found and control such associations 6 and to join those already existing. Yet the dispersion of efforts must be avoided. This happens when new associations and projects are promoted without a sufficient reason, or if antiquated associations or methods are retained beyond their period of usefulness.

Nor is it always fitting to transfer indiscriminately forms of the apostolates that have been used in one nation to other nations. Many decades ago the laity in many nations began to dedicate themselves increasingly to the apostolate.


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They grouped themselves into various kinds of activities and societies which, while maintaining a closer union with the hierarchy, pursued and continue to pursue goals which are properly apostolic. Of these associations, or even among similar and older institutions, those are specially noteworthy which followed different methods of operation and yet produced excellent results for Christ's kingdom. These societies were deservedly recommended and promoted by the popes and many bishops, from whom they received the title of "Catholic Action," and were often described as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy.


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Whether these forms of the apostolate have the name of "Catholic Action" or some other title, they exercise an apostolate of great value for our times and consist in the combination and simultaneous possession of the following characteristics:. Organizations in which, in the opinion of the hierarchy, the ensemble of these characteristics is realized, must be considered to be Catholic Action even though they take on various forms and titles because of the needs of different regions and peoples.

The most holy council earnestly recommends these associations, which surely answer the needs of the apostolate of the Church among many peoples and countries, and invites the clergy and laity working in them to develop the above-mentioned characteristics to an ever greater degree and to cooperate at all times with all other forms of the apostolate in a fraternal manner in the Church. All associations of the apostolate must be given due appreciation. Those, however, which the hierarchy have praised or recommended as responsive to the needs of time and place, or have ordered to be established as particularly urgent, must be held in highest esteem by priests, Religious, and laity and promoted according to each one's ability.

Among these associations, moreover, international associations or groups of Catholics must be specially appreciated at the present time. Deserving of special honor and commendation in the Church are those lay people, single or married, who devote themselves with professional experience, either permanently or temporarily, to the service of associations and their activities. There is a source of great joy for the Church in the fact that there is a daily increase in the number of lay persons who offer their personal service to apostolic associations and activities, either within the limits of their own nation or in the international field or especially in Catholic mission communities and in regions where the Church has only recently been implanted.

The pastors of the Church should gladly and gratefully welcome these lay persons and make sure that the demands of justice, equity, and charity relative to their status be satisfied to the fullest extent, particularly as regards proper support for them and their families. They should also take care to provide for these lay people the necessary formation, spiritual consolation, and incentive. Whether the lay apostolate is exercised by the faithful as individuals or as members of organizations, it should be incorporated into the apostolate of the whole Church according to a right system of relationships.

Indeed, union with those whom the Holy Spirit has assigned to rule His Church cf. Acts is an essential element of the Christian apostolate. No less necessary is cooperation among various projects of the apostolate which must be suitably directed by the hierarchy. Indeed, the spirit of unity should be promoted in order that fraternal charity may be resplendent in the whole apostolate of the Church, common goals may be attained, and destructive rivalries avoided. For this there is need for mutual esteem among all the forms of the apostolate in the Church and, with due respect for the particular character of each organization, proper coordination.

The hierarchy should promote the apostolate of the laity, provide it with spiritual principles and support, direct the conduct of this apostolate to the common good of the Church, and attend to the preservation of doctrine and order. Indeed, the lay apostolate admits of different types of relationships with the hierarchy in accordance with the various forms and objects of this apostolate. For in the Church there are many apostolic undertakings which are established by the free choice of the laity and regulated by their prudent judgment.

The mission of the Church can be better accomplished in certain circumstances by undertakings of this kind, and therefore they are frequently praised or recommended by the hierarchy. Certain forms of the apostolate of the laity are given explicit recognition by the hierarchy, though in various ways.

Because of the demands of the common good of the Church, moreover, ecclesiastical authority can select and promote in a particular way some of the apostolic associations and projects which have an immediately spiritual purpose, thereby assuming in them a special responsibility. Thus, making various dispositions of the apostolate according to circumstances, the hierarchy joins some particular form of it more closely with its own apostolic function.

Yet the proper nature and distinctiveness of each apostolate must be preserved, and the laity must not be deprived of the possibility of acting on their own accord. In various Church documents this procedure of the hierarchy is called a mandate. Finally, the hierarchy entrusts to the laity certain functions which are more closely connected with pastoral duties, such as the teaching of Christian doctrine, certain liturgical actions, and the care of souls. By virtue of this mission, the laity are fully subject to higher ecclesiastical control in the performance of this work.

As regards works and institutions in the temporal order, the role of the ecclesiastical hierarchy is to teach and authentically interpret the moral principles to be followed in temporal affairs. Furthermore, they have the right to judge, after careful consideration of all related matters and consultation with experts, whether or not such works and institutions conform to moral principles and the right to decide what is required for the protection and promotion of values of the supernatural order.

Bishops, pastors of parishes, and other priests of both branches of the clergy should keep in mind that the right and duty to exercise this apostolate is common to all the faithful, both clergy and laity, and that the laity also have their own roles in building up the Church. Special care should be taken to select priests who are capable of promoting particular forms of the apostolate of the laity and are properly trained.

Always adhering faithfully to the spirit and teaching of the Church, they should promote proper relations been laity and hierarchy. They should devote themselves to nourishing the spiritual life and an apostolic attitude in the Catholic societies entrusted to them; they should contribute their wise counsel to the apostolic activity of these associations and promote their undertakings.

Through continuous dialogue with the laity, these priests should carefully investigate which forms make apostolic activity more fruitful. They should promote the spirit of unity within the association as well as between it and others. Finally, in keeping with the spirit and norms of their societies, Religious Brothers and Sisters should value the apostolic works of the laity and willingly devote themselves to promoting lay enterprises.

In dioceses, insofar as possible, there should be councils which assist the apostolic work of the Church either in the field of evangelization and sanctification or in the charitable, social, or other spheres, and here it is fitting that the clergy and Religious should cooperate with the laity. While preserving the proper character and autonomy of each organization, these councils will be able to promote the mutual coordination of various lay associations and enterprises.

Councils of this type should be established as far as possible also on the parochial, interparochial, and interdiocesan level as well as in the national or international sphere. A special secretariat, moreover, should be established at the Holy See for the service and promotion of the lay apostolate. It can serve as a well-equipped center for communicating information about the various apostolic programs of the laity, promoting research into modern problems arising in this field, and assisting the hierarchy and laity in their apostolic works with its advice.

The various movements and projects of the apostolate of the laity throughout the world should also be represented in this secretariat, and here clergy and Religious also are to cooperate with the laity. The quasi-common heritage of the Gospel and the common duty of Christian witness resulting from it recommend and frequently require the cooperation of Catholics with other Christians, on the part of individuals and communities within the Church, either in activities or in associations, in the national or international field.

Likewise, common human values not infrequently call for cooperation between Christians pursuing apostolic aims and those who do not profess Christ's name but acknowledge these values. By this dynamic and prudent cooperation, 10 which is of special importance in temporal activities, the laity bear witness to Christ, the Savior of the world, as well as to the unity of the human family. The apostolate can attain its maximum effectiveness only through a diversified and thorough formation. This is demanded not only by the continuous spiritual and doctrinal progress of the lay person himself but also by the accommodation of his activity to circumstances varying according to the affairs, persons, and duties involved.

This formation for the apostolate should rest upon those bases which have been stated and proclaimed by this most holy council in other documents. Since the laity share in their own way in the mission of the Church, their apostolic formation is specially characterized by the distinctively secular and particular quality of the lay state and by its own form of the spiritual life. The formation for the apostolate presupposes a certain human and well-rounded formation adapted to the natural abilities and conditions of each lay person. Well-informed about the modern world, the lay person should be a member of his own community and adjusted to its culture.

However, the lay person should learn especially how to perform the mission of Christ and the Church by basing his life on belief in the divine mystery of creation and redemption and by being sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God and who urges all to love God the Father as well as the world and men in Him. This formation should be deemed the basis and condition for every successful apostolate. In addition to spiritual formation, a solid doctrinal instruction in theology, ethics, and philosophy adjusted to differences of age, status, and natural talents, is required.

The importance of general culture along with practical and technical formation should also be kept in mind. To cultivate good human relations, truly human values must be fostered, especially the art of living fraternally and cooperating with others and of striking up friendly conversation with them. Since formation for the apostolate cannot consist in merely theoretical instruction, from the beginning of their formation the laity should gradually and prudently learn how to view, judge and do all things in the light of faith as well as to develop and improve themselves along with others through doing, thereby entering into active service to the Church.

In the fulfillment of all the demands of formation, the unity and integrity of the human person must be kept in mind at all times so that his harmony and balance may be safeguarded and enhanced. In this way the lay person engages himself wholly and actively in the reality of the temporal order and effectively assumes his role in conducting the affairs of this order. At the same time, as a living member and witness of the Church, he renders the Church present and active in the midst of temporal affairs.

The training for the apostolate should start with the children's earliest education. In a special way, however, adolescents and young persons should be initiated into the apostolate and imbued with its spirit. This formation must be perfected throughout their whole life in keeping with the demands of new responsibilities. It is evident, therefore, that those who have the obligation to provide a Christian education also have the duty of providing formation for the apostolate.

In the family parents have the task of training their children from childhood on to recognize God's love for all men. By example especially they should teach them little by little to be solicitous for the material and spiritual needs of their neighbor. The whole family in its common life, then, should be a sort of apprenticeship for the apostolate. Children must be educated, too, in such fashion that transcending the family circle, they may open their minds to both ecclesiastical and temporal communities.

They should be so involved in the local community of the parish that they will acquire a consciousness of being living and active members of the people of God. Priests should focus their attention on the formation of the laity for the apostolate in their catechetics, their ministry of the word, their direction of souls, and in their other pastoral services. Schools, colleges, and other Catholic educational institutions also have the duty to develop a Catholic sense and apostolic activity in young persons. If young people lack this formation either because they do not attend these schools or because of any other reason, all the more should parents, pastors of souls, and apostolic organizations attend to it.

Teachers and educators on the other hand, who carry on a distinguished form of the apostolate of the laity by their vocation and office, should be equipped with that learning and pedagogical skill that are needed for imparting such education effectively.


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