The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.
They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:
The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.
Before the apostles were sent out to evangelize, he spent time in their formation.
We are called to live out our faith and share it with others, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. To do this effectively in a society which is increasingly ignorant of and even hostile to Christian values we need formation. In this meditation we consider how:
Christ spent time forming the apostles before sending them out to all nations
We too are called to go out and help others find God and to make our culture more Christian
For this we need a deep spiritual, doctrinal, human and apostolic formation