Winning new apostles
Don't you long to shout to those young men and women all around you: Fools, leave those worldly things that shackle the heart and very often degrade it…, leave all that and come with us in search of Love?
You lack drive. That's why you sway so few. You don't seem very convinced of what you gain by giving up those things of the earth for Christ.
Just compare: a hundredfold and life everlasting! Would you call that a poor bargain?
'Duc in altum. Put out into deep water!' Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you. And pay out your nets for a catch!
Don't you see that you, like Peter, can say: 'In nomine tuo, laxabo rete': Jesus, if you say so, I will search for souls?
The search for fellow-apostles. It is the unmistakable sign of true zeal.
To sow. The sower went out… Scatter your seed, apostolic soul. The wind of grace will bear it away if the furrow where it falls is not worthy… Sow, and be certain that the seed will take root and
By good example good seed is sown; and charity compels us all to sow.
You have but little love if you are not zealous for the salvation of all souls. You have but poor love if you are not eager to inspire other apostles with your craziness.
You realize that your way is not clear. And that it is not clear because by not following Jesus closely you remain in darkness. What keeps you from making up your mind?
Reasons?… What reasons could the poor Ignatius give to his brilliant companion Xavier?
What amazes you seems natural to me— that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession!
That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house.
And — wonder of wonders! — Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians.
The harvest is great and the labourers few. Rogate ergo! Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.
Prayer is the most effective means of winning new apostles.
Through the world still echoes that divine cry: 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!' And you see: it has nearly all died out…
Will you not help to spread the blaze?
There is a brilliant man whom you long to attract to your apostolate; there is another, a man of great influence; and a third, full of prudence and virtues…
Pray, offer up sacrifices, and work on them with your word and example. — They don't want to come! — Don't lose your peace; it's because they are not needed.
Do you think there were no brilliant and influential and prudent and virtuous contemporaries of Peter outside the apostolate of the first twelve?
I've been told that you have the 'knack' of drawing souls to your way.
It's a gift to thank God for; to be an instrument for seeking instruments!
Help me to cry: Jesus, souls! Apostolic souls! They are for you, for your glory.
You'll see how in the end he will hear us.
Tell me: there, where you are… mightn't there be one… or two, who could understand us well?
Tell him — yes, him — that I need fifty men who love Jesus Christ above all things.
You say of that friend of yours that he frequents the sacraments, that he is clean-living and a good student. But that he won't 'respond'; if you speak to him of sacrifice and apostolate, be becomes sad and goes away.
Don't worry. It's not a failure of your zeal. It is, to the letter, the scene related by the Evangelist: 'If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor' (sacrifice), 'and then come, follow me' (apostolate).
The young man also abiit tristis, went away sad; he was not willing to respond to grace.
'Good news: another "crazy" fellow for the asylum'!… And all is excitement in the fisherman's letter.
May God make your nets effective.
Winning new apostles. Who does not hunger to perpetuate his apostolate?
That burning desire to win fellow-apostles is a sure sign that you have really 'given yourself' to God.
Do you remember? Night was falling as you and I began our prayer. From close by came the murmur of water. And, through the stillness of the city, we also seemed to hear voices from many lands crying to us in anguish that they do not yet know Christ.
Unashamedly you kissed your Crucifix and asked him to make you an apostle of apostles.
I can understand how you love your country and your people so much, and that, in spite of these ties, you long for the moment when you will cross lands and seas — far away — for your heart is consumed by the thought of the harvest.