Let us always keep in mind that mandate Christ gave to his apostles before he ascended into heaven. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt 28,19-20)
It’s a mandate that is actually meant for all the disciples of Christ and believers of God. We have to have a universal sense of apostolate. As one saint would put it, of 100 souls we should be interested in 100. We have to avoid falling into a parochial or tribal attitude toward our apostolic duty. While it’s true that because of our personal conditions, each one of us will have a particular niche in his apostolic activity, everyone should try to have a universal apostolic concern.
We have to be ready to get interested in everyone apostolically. We should be interested both in the rich and the poor, those in the mainstream of society as well as those in the peripheries.
We have to learn how to dance with the rich and crazy as well as to get wet and dirty with the poor and miserable. We should be able to do apostolate in any part of the world. We have to learn how to be all things to all men as St. Paul said. (cfr. 1 Cor 9-22)
And our interest in them should go beyond merely human and worldly purposes and categories. We simply are not interested in them for some practical reasons alone. We should avoid getting entangled in the subordinate reasons for our apostolic interest in everyone.
The main reason for our apostolic interest in everyone should be that everyone gets back to God from whom all of us came and to whom we all belong. We have to be most interested in everyone achieving his spiritual and supernatural goal in life, in his holiness, in his becoming ‘another Christ,’ who is the pattern of our humanity and the redeemer of our damaged humanity.
For this, we need to be patient, persevering, creative and versatile. We have to learn how to “waste time” with everyone, especially those who may be very different from us in terms of temperament, social and economic status, etc.
We should not wait for some favorable circumstances before we do apostolate. To do apostolate should be like our heartbeat. We should feel its urge the way we feel the urge to breathe, eat and drink.
Of course, to do apostolate is not a biological urge, but a spiritual one, to be triggered by an act of our will that is animated by God’s grace. We do not do apostolate because we happen to have some extra time. We do it because we are supposed to be apostles, and we always look for time to do it.
We have to learn to adapt ourselves to everyone, dealing with each one as he is as well as he ought to be. This, for sure, will always cause some tension in us, since even if we have some good ideas about how one is and how he ought to be, the fact is we will always be faced with deep mysteries in dealing with each person.
Let’s remember St. Augustine saying, “Who can map out the various forces at play in one’s soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.”
To develop this real concern for universal apostolate, we really need to be patient and persevering, creative and versatile, always begging for grace from God.