God in his generosity has entrusted every one of the baptized, in every state of life, with gifts, charisms, talents, resources. These are meant to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God within the communion of the church, ultimately for God’s glory and the salvation of the world.
The Second Vatican Council took up these concepts when it considered “the apostolate of the laity,” highlighting the importance of the lay faithful, under the discernment and direction of their pastors, using their gifts with generosity and freedom.
The life of the church is, of course, infused with this and always has been. Often it’s as quiet and hidden as washing dishes and wiping tables after a Lenten fish fry or carrying out a work of mercy. Sometimes it’s as public and loud as last month’s Built Upon a Rock Fest.
It’s worth pausing for a moment to consider that event in light of these truths of our faith. It started with one person, Marie Mullen, inspired by a Catholic band and wanting to share it with others. From her it grew to a small team of fellow lay people. By the end, and in harmony with the church’s pastors, it had drawn support from businesses, church groups, parishes, benefactors, dozens of volunteers, and finally more than 900 joyful people on a beautiful late summer evening at the Cathedral for a free concert, carried off as if it were done by professionals instead of people doing this for the very first time.
It’s amazing what God can do with our gifts, with our little loaves and fishes, when we listen to him and let him. Sometimes great ideas come out of a place like the chancery, like the beautiful 125th anniversary Eucharistic Procession through Duluth a few years back. Sometimes they come from a stay-at-home mom. Often it’s a fruitful collaboration between people in all the church’s myriad vocations.
But we should use the opportunity of these kinds of events as inspiration. God’s calls are discerned over time, both in our daily individual prayer life and in communion and harmony with the whole church. But call he does — and we can ask him for the grace to respond in true peace, docility, freedom, and filial boldness.