Would you give your talents to follow the Twelve?
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Starting this October, Catholic Online School is honoring the 12 Apostle Heroes who gave everything they had to follow Jesus. Like the Apostles, we are called to follow Jesus. But what does that really mean? How can we follow Jesus in our ordinary lives? It is both easier and harder than people think.
We are called to follow in the footsteps of the 12, giving our talents for the work of God.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Jesus called the 12 Apostles to follow Him. Each one of them had an Apostolate, which is a mission assigned to them. The Catechism defines Apostolate as, "The work of an apostle, not only of the first followers of Christ, but of all the faithful who carry on the original mission entrusted by the Savior to the twelve to 'make disciples of all nations'" (Matt 28:19).
Most Christians will dismiss this saying, "But I know this already." However, few live as though they do. If more did, then living in the world would be a much different experience. It's a case of knowing something academically, and knowing it in your heart. Even the atheist "knows" Jesus. But it is only the truly devout Christian who really knows Jesus.
Everyone assumes they are in the latter group as well. But again, the facts suggest this cannot be the case. Nobody can tell you to which group of Christians you belong, but each Christian knows in their heart, just as Christ knows.
A genuine Christian is one who accept the responsibility of their own apostolate and performs the missionary work of Christ in their own lives. As stated above, this is both easier and more difficult than people think.
It is more difficult because many people assume that attending Mass and genuinely being a nice person satisfies this requirement. But if we compare this standard to what the Apostles did, is it enough? Surely, the Apostles were nice folks, and they celebrated Mass too. But if that was all they did, Christianity would have died in the first century. It isn't enough to be nice, or to celebrate Mass. In their writings, they called on people to do more than this. That's how we know we must do more ourselves. And this requires effort, and that makes the mission tough for a lot of people who are preoccupied with their daily lives.
What kind of effort?
Effort that evangelizes. Note, this does not always mean preaching. Not every person has this talent, in fact few do. However, we are all given talents from God. To appreciate this fully, we need to understand what a talent is. A talent is an ancient measure of money, usually equated to about fifty pounds of previous metal, such as silver. And while this standard varied greatly in ancient times, the general consensus was that it applied to a measure of money. Christ used the term talent to refer to gifts we enjoy from God that have the potential to bear a return when they are invested.
We all have talents, but we must examine how we use them. Do we use them to enrich ourselves? To build a bigger house, to buy a nicer car, to take more vacations? Or do we use them to evangelize? Although there is nothing wrong with having nice things, or taking vacations, we must remember one important detail about talents. They don't belong to us. They belong to God. God grants our talents, and they are forfeit when we die. We will be judged in part on how we used these gifts during our lives.
Therefore, we must use whatever talents we have, be they the ability to speak, write, teach, cook, clean, create, build, repair, or whatever it may be, in a way that also evangelizes. There are millions of ways to do so, it's simply a matter of finding one way that is right for you and following though.
Note however, this goes beyond adding a cross or a fish to your business card. It means making it clear to others, through words or deeds, that you are a follower of Christ. It means being consistent as possible. It means kindness, generosity, and integrity now and for as long as you live.
While this sounds hard for many people, it is also easier then most assume. That's because we have choices we can make. We get to pick!
For one, overcoming the stigma that comes with being Christian is important. We must not be ashamed to be followers of Christ. Even in the workplace. We may be subject to rules that forbid overt sharing of the faith, but there are no rules against sharing a lunch, making friends, helping our coworkers, giving generously, and doing a good, consistent, reliable job ourselves with moral integrity. They should know you are Christian by your actions as well as words.
For another, if our options are limited by age, means, workplace rules, or society, we can still participate by literally giving talents. If we cannot preach, we can contribute to those who do. Certainly, those who gave up their loaves and fishes to Christ, as humble as their gifts were, were repaid many times over. And that applies to us today.
If that's your choice, the link below will take you to a place where you can support those who are doing real work in the mission field.
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Those who join and follow the 12 Apostles Journey will enjoy a monthly update from Deacon Keith Fournier, who is the Dean of Catholic Online School. The Deacon will dedicate each month to each of the 12 Apostles. He will share unique insights that you might not find elsewhere, that could change your perspective for the better.
Whatever you do, it's time for you to follow Christ, genuinely by investing your talents in Him. Jesus calls. How will you answer?
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