PART 2 – Inputs from the Catholic Church
Edited by Fr. Joaquim Lobo and published in Sangati, Jan 2018 (Salesian Magazine, Goa)
A few lines from the Vatican-2 Document “Lumen Gentium”, 1964
The Lay Apostolate is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their Baptism and Confirmation, all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. (No 33)
The Laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth. (No 33)
Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. (No 33)
Even when preoccupied with temporal cares, the laity can and must perform a work of great value for the evangelisation of the world. (No 35)
The laity must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way, the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfil its purpose in justice, charity and peace. The laity have the principal role in the overall fulfilment of this duty. (No 36)
Each individual layman must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the living God. All the laity as a community and each one according to his ability must nourish the world with spiritual fruits. (No. 38)
Answering the Call of Jesus
All Christians are called to radiate the Word of Truth that the Lord Jesus left us.
– Pope Benedict (The Door of Faith, 2011)
We cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves. We must pass it on.
– Pope Benedict (Papal Address, June 2006)
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.– 1Pet 2:9
All these lines give us, the laity, a clear direction on what God desires to accomplish in and through us. In his document called “Christifideles Laici”, Pope John Paul II expounds on the Laity’s role in the Church today. He reminds us that the call – “You too go into my Vineyard” (Matt 20:4) is for one and all, and not just for the clergy, pastors or any assigned staff. He says that every lay person is “personally called by the Lord” (#2) and that “every disciple is personally called by name” (#33). We need to journey towards the realisation that – It’s a call from Jesus, the vineyard is the world, there is “no place for idleness” (#3) and it is a call associated with urgency (#16). We need not be afraid (#34) but on the contrary, let us be uplifted and privileged that we are called by God into a noble and joyful duty (#17).
A few lines from the Vatican-2 Document “Christifideles Laici” by Pope John Paul II (1988)
The Re-evangelisation activity of the lay faithful is revealed in these days as increasingly necessary and valuable. – #35
Indeed, as a person with a truly unique life story, each is called by name to make a special contribution to the coming of the Kingdom of God. – #56
The gospel image of the vine and the branches reveals to us another fundamental aspect of the lay faithful’s life and mission: The call to growth and a continual process of maturation, of always bearing much fruit. – #57
The lay faithful ought to feel more strongly the Church’s responsibility to obey the command of Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15), and take up anew the missionary endeavour. A great venture – both challenging and wonderful, is entrusted to the Church – that of a re-evangelisation, which is so much needed by the present world. The lay faithful ought to regard themselves as an active and responsible part of this venture, called as they are to proclaim and to live the gospel. – #64
To respond to their vocation, the lay faithful must see their daily activities as an occasion to join themselves to God, fulfill his will, serve other people and lead them to communion with God in Christ. – #17
Here then, is a universal call to witness to Christ. This is not a mere intellectual task or job. It is an invitation to share in the work of Christ Himself. It is a loving expectation from a divine Master to all who desire to follow Him. Our Baptism imbibes us into the Catholic Church and provides us with sufficient graces which we can stir up and activate in our adulthood. During Easter service, when we renew our Baptismal vows as adults, there is a fresh anointing of the Spirit and we can become effective witnesses to Jesus. This is a part of the spiritual journey which cannot be avoided. With a fervent “yes” and with hearts enflamed with the love of God, let us respond to this calling.
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.– Col 3:17
Lord Jesus, I truly desire to be a witness to your love in this world today. Give me your Holy Spirit and lead me in your plan for my life. Teach me the way you want me to go and help me walk in obedience. I want to know you more, love you more and serve you more. Use me as an instrument so that your name is known and glorified. Amen.