Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What is your Apostolate?

What special talents do each of you share for the glory of the Church?

I got mine: "Cheerful Conversation."

I used to think that my talent was sort of pathetic. Instead of starting up friendships in church social halls, I'd troll the "help needed" parts of my church bulletin. I worked in soup kitchens, on the purificator committee, and my favorite mistake (for a girl who regularly reverses numbers and is math challenged) as an anti-predatory lending attorney for the poor.

I got trapped into thinking that doing something for Jesus needed to be something "hard" and "important."

Then I spent some massive time hanging around the NICU this fall.

My God given, innate talent at "cheerful conversation" is NOT a small, useless art after all.

This humble little apostolate is keeping me sane during this challenging transition of waiting 4 weeks to move into a new community.

Anyone else want to share their prayer journey on this topic?

17 comments:

  1. How did you find this out about yourself?

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  2. I have no idea what my apostolate is. How do you figure this out? Prayer?

    I'm good at talking to people and putting them at ease.. I get it from mom. ;-)

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  4. Delete Comment From: Abigail's Alcove


    Abigail said...
    Prayer. I think getting to know Jesus better means finally getting to know yourself better too.

    I had a little Saint of the day on my goggle window. One day, I read about the Carmelite who started out the first lay order with St. Simon Stock himself. She was know for her "cheerful conversation". I thought "I didn't know you could become a Saint by just doing that!"

    Now the virtue of "cheerfulness" comes up all the time during my daily life.

    Repetition is a big thing for me in discerning guidance from the Holy Spirit-gentleness and repetition.

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  5. This is very cool!! My daughter went on a retreat which was a discernment of charisms retreat and it was amazing!!

    I've never officially discerned or prayed well enough to confirm, but I believe mine is teaching (as in, the Faith). Other than that, I got nothin'.

    I wish I were cheerful conversation! It's probably much more close to saintliness.

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  6. I'm quite the chatty cathy myself but I never thought of it as an apostolate, just a goofy part of my party girl personality. I dare say that I used to think of it as rather contrary to the virtue of humility (which I so desire) and would try to squelch it. Now I just embrace it - hoping God will have mercy on the verbose! I like the people he makes. I like talking to them too.

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  7. I'm working on the virtue of "Silence" which is NOT an natural virtue for me. It pairs nicely with "cheerful conversation." When I'm doing my thing for God I can focus my gift for conversation part a little more for those in need (new mothers, infertile "I wish I was a mother", NICU moms, moms who've had a rotten home school day, etc) rather than being the chatty girl taking up all the time in the random Vacation Bible School planning session.

    Best new quote for me "How do you know a kid is in need of encouragement?

    If he's breathing! (I think the same thing holds true for adults)

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  8. I heard of some saint being called "the apostle of the smile" once (I can't remember who!), and I feel like that might be my "apostolate". I make sure to give people a sincere smile when I talk to them, or even just random people at the grocery store, post office, etc (I hope I don't come off as a creep or something!). When I was working at a factory, the people would ask me all the time why I smile so much, and I would say, "There's a lot to be happy about!" I just want to brighten somebody's day or know that I'm glad to see them. :)

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  9. I heard of some saint being called "the apostle of the smile" once (I can't remember who!), and I feel like that might be my "apostolate". I make sure to give people a sincere smile when I talk to them, or even just random people at the grocery store, post office, etc (I hope I don't come off as a creep or something!). When I was working at a factory, the people would ask me all the time why I smile so much, and I would say, "There's a lot to be happy about!" I just want to brighten somebody's day or know that I'm glad to see them. :)

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  10. Interesting topic...my friend and I just explored this in our own blog entry about feminine gifts (http://thefemininegift.blogspot.com/2011/05/gift.html - if you're interested...) and I came to the conclusion that I used to believe that everyone's gifts were important except my own. I was always berating myself for not being...well...someone else. Finally after I realized that God had given me special gifts too, well I started paying attention more - I think I have a (small) gift for writing and a bigger gift for administration with a few other specialties mixed in between. Other than that I try and thank God every day for who He has made me to be, ask him to help me change and be more what He wants me to be and then thank him for my own gifts.

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  11. During 8 day retreats, my spiritual director has called this discovering my "personal vocation." Turns out it's perseverence or fortitude or courage. I have to admit that I was a bit deflated by that discernment at first. I guess I was unconsciously hoping for something a little flashier or something, who knows?
    The point is to discover our personal vocation thru a variety of ways that God puts in our path (Scripture readings that we're drawn to, what others tell us etc) & then to begin to live in that vocation (or calling) as well as the be aware of the opposite, but essential, side of the coin. E.g., Abigail's comment re: silence being a necessary component of cheerful conversation. Does that make any sense?

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  13. perseverance isn't flashy? Girl, I've got NONE of that virtue and I miss it all the time. (pray for me!)

    Isn't it interesting that the gift God gives you in spades, the one that almost causes envy in others, is that exact same gift you usually think is "boring" or "dumb?"

    We're all like my daughter who has the gorgeous corkscrew curls like Shirley Temple but wishes for straight hair like her older sister.

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  14. "Isn't it interesting that the gift God gives you in spades, the one that almost causes envy in others, is that exact same gift you usually think is "boring" or "dumb?""

    I have a good friend who's gift is also interpersonal. I wouldn't exactly call it "cheerful conversation," but more along the lines of "love". She just loves and draws out those she meets. So many people have been touched by her love.

    My gifts? I'm good with numbers, computers, logic...well basically anything NOT dealing with people. I've always wanted to be more interpersonal, yet God chose not to give me that gift. What is more useful, to fill in a spreadsheet or to reach someone's heart and bring conversion?

    However, it's also true that the more you accept who God has made you to be the stronger you become. The more I've accepted my role as someone in the background the more God has been able to work in my life (because I'm no longer stressed about those things I'm not good at. He made me not good at everything, He'll provide a way to correct for that issue).

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  15. I find myself being cheerful and optimistic on almost every visit that my little therapy dog Libby and I do. It makes it easier to have this attitude when I know that is "our job" as corridor chaplains.

    One or two times, I have cried with patients, and that is ok, too.

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  16. This is so good. Like Cardinal Cooke. There are so few people with this healing talent left!

    Thank you Jesus for giving you this immeasurable talent. I have a talent of listening and working with impossible, bored and lonely folks in institutions where everyone is power hungry.

    A bizzare talent, I know. But, somebody has to work in bureaucracies...and apparently, this is where my talent is.

    Oh, and not being attatched to the fruit of my labor and not being a black and white thinker.

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