Strengthened by active participation in the liturgical life of their community, they are eager to do their share of the apostolic works of that community. (DECREE ON THE APOSTOLATE OF THE LAITY APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM)
Who are they talking about?
You. Really, You.
Now let’s look into the 3rd chapter of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, and breakdown the meaning of laity when it comes to the various fields of the Apostolate. My previous blog posts on this document, Catholic Laity, What Should They Do? on chapter 1, and Laity in the Catholic Church on chapter 2, will bring you up to speed on what I am sharing.
Just before the quote I mentioned above, the decree shares a few Bible verses that gives us a “scripture-picture”, that will help us understand what Pope Paul VI was trying to share in the year of 1965. Acts 18:18, 26 – Romans 16:3 - 1 Cor. 16:17-18, these reference will show you the “active participation” of those who worked with Paul.
I would like to focus on Acts 18:18, and share with you what is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,… Life In Christ, Ten Commandments, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND”, the first commandment. I found my way to this particular part of the Catechism, by searching online for the Bible verse with the keyword “Vatican.”
“A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God concerning a possible and better good which must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion,”21 A vow is an act of devotion in which the Christian dedicates himself to God or promises him some good work. By fulfilling his vows he renders to God what has been promised and consecrated to Him. The Acts of the Apostles shows us St. Paul concerned to fulfill the vows he had made. (CCC 2102)
Paul had his hair cut!
At Cenchreae he had his hair cut because he had taken a vow. (Acts 18:18)
When looking at this verse in Acts of the Apostles, you must look back at an early verse where Paul is known as Saul. Which we know at that time, Saul was on the hunt!
Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, 2 he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. (Acts 9:1-2)
The reference to “the Way” is talking of the early Christians, disciples of the Lord,… Followers of Jesus Christ. Now you see the beginnings of who the Laity of the Catholic Church are.
Now this is really simple to understand. I encourage everyone to read the full decree, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, and get a better understanding of what the definition of Laity, really means.
I a going to quote a few more lines from the document, and allow you to see why it is important for you, your friends, your family,… and when I say family! Yes, I mean if your children. Kids have a role in the Church as active participants, when you define Laity.
The parish offers an obvious example of the apostolate on the community level inasmuch as it brings together the many human differences within its boundaries and merges them into the universality of the Church.(1) The laity should accustom themselves to working in the parish in union with their priests,(2) bringing to the Church community their own and the world’s problems as well as questions concerning human salvation, all of which they should examine and resolve by deliberating in common. As far as possible the laity ought to provide helpful collaboration for every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by their local parish.
Focus on “Laity should accustom themselves”,… ”working in”… “union with their priests,” … And then WOW, reference to “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We are called not only to bring our own problems to examine and resolve, but those of the whole-world!
– deliberating in common –
Deliberating defined – Engage in long and careful consideration, Consider (a question) carefully. Or hey,… click here for TheFreeDictionary.com
Christian husbands and wives are cooperators in grace and witnesses of faith for each other, their children, and all others in their household.
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.
Look familiar? Needs of the Family? Housing – Children – Work Conditions – Social Security – Taxes,… Yes topics of great concern. Throughout history, “Man” has always dealt with migrants, and the issue of rights are a great concern. I bring back up the fact that the Church is calling us to safeguard our own rights and the rights of “all others.”
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.
Those words are crucial to the Mission of the Church. Are we actively seeking opportunity?
12. Young persons exert very important influence in modern society.(7) There has been a radical change in the circumstances of their lives, their mental attitudes, and their relationships with their own families. 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.
Those two BOLD statements. That was me. And a lot of my friends,… This is a whole other topic to blog about, Young Adults. Let’s look at words of encouragement from the decree for Laity.
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.
I thought this would be a short blog post,… LOL
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.
Look at that,… “in all their dealing”… “attract all”… “to the love”
Children also have their own apostolic work to do. According to their ability they are true living witnesses of Christ among their companions.
In this decree the above statement on children appears alone. It is rather simple, and if we are showing our children how to be Christ like, they will follow.
As a father of four, I find myself in daily battle trying to be a father of righteousness.
Often I fail. … off to the confessional!
Catholics should try to cooperate with all men and women of good will to promote whatever is true, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable.
The decree, explaining the definition of Laity, is making a reference to Phil. 4:8. I share with you the full verse, to end with.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philip 4:8)
I truly hope what I have shared, can bring more meaning into the hearts of others, so that they may see the Faith, Hope and Charity that the Lord offers to all mankind, His children.
As I am reading along in Brandon Vogt’s “The Church and New Media”, I see desire of what he laid out, through the testimonials and witness of others, so the we may see the New Evangelization of the Digital Age reflecting our faith and teachings of the Church.
Something to ponder, something to pray.