Soul of the Apostolate – Prologue

Taken from the Prologue from Soul of the Apostolate by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, O.C.S.O.


The Soul of the Apostolate

Prologue

EX QUO OMNIA,

PER QUEM OMNIA,

IN QUO OMNIA[1]

O God, infinitely good and great, wonderful indeed are the truths that faith lays open to us, concerning the life which Thou leadest within Thyself: and these truths dazzle us.

Father all holy, Thou dost contemplate Thyself forever in the Word, Thy perfect image — Thy Word exults in rapt joy at Thy beauty — and, Father and Son, from Your joint ecstasy, leaps forth the strong flame of love, the Holy Spirit.

You alone, O adorable Trinity, are the interior life, perfect, superabundant, and infinite.

Goodness unlimited, You desire to spread this, Your own inner life, everywhere, outside Yourself. You speak: and Your works spring forth out of nothingness, to declare Your perfections and to sing Your glory.

Between You and the dust quickened by Your breath, there is a deep abyss: and this, Your Holy Spirit wishes to bridge. Thus He will find a way of satisfying His immense need to love, to give Himself.

And therefore He calls forth, from Your bosom, the decree that we become divine. Wonder of wonders! This clay, fashioned by Your hands, will have the power to be deified, and share in Your eternal happiness..

Your Word offers Himself for the fulfillment of this work.

And He is made flesh, that we may become gods.[2]

And yet, O Word, Thou hast not left the bosom of Thy Father. It is there that Thy essential life subsists, and it is from this source that the marvels of Thy apostolate are to flow.

O Jesus, Emmanuel, Thou dost hand over to Thy apostles Thy Gospel, Thy Cross, Thy Eucharist, and givest them the mission to go forth and beget for Thy Father, sons of adoption.

And then Thou dost return, ascending, to Thy Father.

Thine, henceforth, O Holy Spirit, is the care of sanctifying and directing the Mystical Body of the God-man.[3]

Thou deignest to take unto Thyself fellow-workers, in Thy function of bringing, from the Head, divine life into the members.

Burning with Pentecostal fires, they will go forth to sow broadcast in the minds of all, the word that enlightens, and in all hearts the grace that enkindles. Thus will they impart to men that divine life of which Thou art the fullness.

✸               ✸

O Divine Fire, stir up in all those who have part in Thy apostolate, the flames that transformed those fortunate retreatments in the Upper Room. Then they will be no longer mere preachers of dogma or moral theology, but men living to transfuse the Blood of God into the souls of men.

Spirit of Light, imprint upon their minds, in characters that can never be erased, this truth: that their apostolate will be successful only in the measure that they themselves live that supernatural inner life of which Thou art the sovereign PRINCIPLE and Jesus Christ the SOURCE.

O infinite Charity, make their wills burn with thirst for the interior life. Penetrate and flood their hearts with Thy sweetness and strength, and show them that, even here on this earth, there is no real happiness except in this life of imitation and sharing in Thine own life and in that of the Heart of Jesus in the bosom of the Father of all mercy and all kindness.

✸               ✸

O Mary Immaculate, Queen of apostles, deign to bless these simple pages. Grant that all who read them may really understand that, if it please God to use their activity as an ordinary instrument of His Providence, in pouring out His heavenly riches upon the souls of men, this activity, if it is to produce any results, will have to participate, somehow, in the nature of the Divine Act as Thou didst behold it in the bosom of God when He, to Whom we owe the power of calling thee our Mother, became incarnate in the virginal womb.


[1] Liturgy. Fifth antiphon of Matins for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity – quoted from 1 Cor 8:6.

[2] Factus est homo ut homo fieret dues (St. Augustine, Serm. 2 de Nativ.).

[3] Deus, cujus Spiritu totum corpus sanctificatur et regitur. Liturgy.

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12 thoughts on “Soul of the Apostolate – Prologue”

      1. I’m interested in the source of the translation you use in the Prologue. You say that the source is the Chautard book. But the translation there is different from the one you use above. — I have had the beautiful third paragraph of the translation you use (beginning, Father all holy) on my desk for many years. But I don’t remember the book that I took it from. If you could help me locate the source of that translation, I would be grateful. God bless you.

  1. Well I had to perform a very long abortion last night (Friday) and now am so tired I’ll just hang about at home and read on the counch all weekend. What do you think the priest will focus on during Mass?

    1. Well, life has a point, Adam, and we are all naturally directed toward it. If anyone is serious about their life, and wants to find its meaning – i.e., what it’s all about – one should find ultimate fulfillment in seeking the mystery beyond – i.e., God.

      How one comes to be with Him – i.e., salvation – is another issue altogether though, since it’s neither mine or yours to initiate, but it’s His alone, and His Spirit would be working within us to call us to Himself through His Son. It’s by the self-sacrificial death of Christ Jesus on the cross for your sake and mine that it is even made possible.

      If you sense an inner call to salvation, and conversion of life (which is a requisite), then by all means, follow that call. Be sure that it is for your salvation (for faith in Christ is necessary for salvation) and for pleasing God, and not man, so that faith is genuine. Prepare, and keep on cultivating your heart so that it may be open to God’s word to you. Jesus has these words to say:

      “Listen! A sower went out to sow.
      And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
      Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil;
      and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away.
      Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
      And other seeds fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
      And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
      And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables.
      And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables;
      so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.”
      And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
      The sower sows the word.
      And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown; when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which is sown in them.
      And these in like manner are the ones sown upon rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
      and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
      And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word,
      but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
      But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
      (Mark 4:3-20)

      Part of cultivating a good soil is preparing one’s mind, since it is to truth what the eye is to light. As St. Paul the apostle says, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

      One resource that would be of help in this that you might like to read is Catholic Apologetics Today: Answers to Modern Critics, by William Most. Here’s a short description of it:

      “The Catholic Church does not ask for or even permit such unreasonable thinking. Vatican Council I, quoting Romans 12:1, taught that our faith should be a “reasonable service of God,” not an irrational leap…. So we are going to start out on a search. There will be two stages: first reason, then faith. That is, before anyone can or should believe, he should go through a process of discovery based on reason, not on faith. We will face all problems squarely, including the fact that some today deny God, deny miracles, and even-believe it or not-deny the very possibility of writing any reliable history. Only after these necessary preliminaries will we look for the rational foundations for faith.
      After this basic work, we will consider the claims of other religions including Protestantism, Judaism, and non-Christian religions.
      Finally, in the appendices, we will answer objections about specific teachings of the Church.”

      May the God of grace and peace be with you,
      TTM

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