The Active-Apostolic Dimension
Sanctified by living the spirit of Christ Jesus, and formed through sound theological formation, the Members, as envisaged by the Founder since the beginning, committed themselves to the apostolate of instruction. In actual fact for the first Members every place became a pulpit and every method of teaching was used to spread the Word of God. The apostolate of the Member is to proclaim the Word everywhere, to all people and with all suitable means.
The original inspiration of the Founder was evangelical and very ‘Pauline’. Christ for the Founder is the Christus Magister who at birth, during his life and at the time of death taught by word and by example. Hence the Members have the same “mission of the Beloved Jesus, the only Teacher of humanity, who came to the world in order to enlighten it by his teaching”. In the same vein, St Paul is the Sanctus Paulus Magister and the Members are to look up at him “for they know that he imitated Christ Jesus, and out of his love for him, Paul did not spare his health or his life so as to serve Jesus through teaching”. Out of this original idea Blessed Preca matured his clear conviction that the Members, “as servants of God, are to fulfil our end, especially the mission for which the merciful God chose to call us, that of instructing ourselves in order to teach others to the best of our abilities”.
From the very beginning of the Society, an indispensable quality of the SDC Member was the thirst for instruction and the eagerness to give to others, as far as they are able, the good instruction they themselves have received. Therefore, this dimension enjoys primary and shaping influence on the Member’s lifestyle. Therefore, this dimension enjoys primary and shaping influence on the Member’s lifestyle. The Member, then, should endeavour to commit himself to the spreading of God’s Word in the particular circumstances in which he lives, for this structures his life, since before anything else he is “a true apostle” active for spreading the Word. This apostolate of the proclamation of the Word by all means presented in the Rule commits us to such an extent that it normally excludes us from other ministries in the Church.
The zeal to share the Good News (Evangelion) with everybody matures as the Member experiences the empowerment of the Incarnate Word: “What we have seen and heard we are telling you, … to make our joy complete” (1Jn 1:3-4). Like the first Superior General, Eugene Borg, the Member embraces the world in his heart for he feels that he is a missionary from his very nature. He embraces this ideal with his gaze fixed on the Crucified Christ before whom the Member promised to look up at him all the days of his life. With the Prophet Isaiah, he rejoices for he believes that beautiful indeed “are the feet of the messenger announcing peace, of the messenger of good news”. The Member, therefore, nurtures in his heart a true liberty which manifests itself in his being adaptable, mobile and available in order to be able to carry out the apostolate wherever it calls him, for the field of the Society is in every place where good instruction is needed.
On the other hand, conscious of the reality and circumstances of modern people and of today’s hectic life with less time at the Member’s disposal, the Society has to help its Members integrate their apostolate with the other dimensions of their vocation. Their active life, in spite of its burdens and sacrifices, is to be an expression of their love for God, a means to sanctify the temporal order, a way how to practise meekness and humility, and above all a manner how to glorify and praise God. The Founder was very clear about setting right the priorities: “Pray to God to overwhelm you with his love. Those who love are brisk, delightful and detached from everything. Nothing holds them down. They give all for all, and have all in all; that is they find rest in that one supreme good above any other”.
The teaching apostolate also provides space for the Member to develop those abilities and aptitudes which God has gifted him with. While discovering his talents, every Member strives to mature them and to direct them towards the apostolate of the spreading of the Word for every skill or talent may be utilised in the service of the Good News. Literary, artistic, technical, musical, academic and scientific competences found in Members are gifts that may be directed to and find fulfilment in the varied forms of the Society’s apostolate. Special encouragement should be given to those Members who have the wonderful talent of being able to attract children and youths to the SDC Centres.