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Chapter 41

Christian Service

 

God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me
which He has not committed to another.
—Blessed John Henry Newman

 

 

No matter what their vocation, station or condition in life, every converted Christian is needed in the Mystical Body of Christ.  No matter how small, we are all part of the whole and have something from God to contribute.  “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of workings, but the same God who works all of them in everyone.  To each individual is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the benefit of all.” (1 Cor. 12:4-7)

Every Christian is called to service.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)  The Holy Spirit expands our capacity for worldwide charity.  Our heart goes out to embrace the whole world with all of its needs—spiritual and physical, mental and emotional.  We may not be a missionary physically, but spiritually our prayer reaches out to others through others.  God lays upon our heart and soul some person or people, some problem or pain to pray for, and then He answers that prayer through others who can be there, including the holy angels.  Pray for the conversion of souls.  Pray for the poor and needy, refugees, minorities, the sick, the suffering and all those in need of God’s mercy, those addicted to drugs or pornography, those enslaved by Satan in sin.  Pray for your country, the world and the Church that God’s will be done.  “Christ is the one awaited for by all peoples; He is God’s answer to humanity.” (St. John Paul II)  Praying for others is a spiritual work of mercy.

Furthermore, we may be led by the Lord to give generously to the “poorest of the poor” through some mission or charity that we trust.  Even more, perhaps the Holy Spirit wants us to personally help the recovering alcoholic or drug addict, the mentally ill or developmentally disabled, the physically sick, abandoned or abused.  St. Teresa of Calcutta once said—“Do small things with great love.  It’s not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing; and it is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.”

Whatever is done to help others out of love for God, in order to please Him and fulfill His will, is most certainly Christian service.  This can include anything and everything that contributes to their well-being in any way.  Still, to help others spiritually is greater service than to help them physically.  This does not mean, of course, that we should neglect the poor and needy, the sick and suffering, the mentally ill or physically handicapped.  It does mean, however, that while we seek to improve their human condition we should also seek their conversion to Christ and spiritual well-being.  Everyone is called upon to do what they can according to Divine Providence.  True Christian charity involves using your material and spiritual blessings, your natural and supernatural gifts, to help other people grow closer to God and be more united with Him by the way you serve their human and spiritual needs.  God cares about the whole human person—soul and body, mind and emotion—and so should we.  After all, we are His creation.  “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)  Even after we rebelled and fell from Him, He took our human nature to more than restore it in Christ Jesus our Lord.  The Son of God became the Son of Man so that man could become one with God, not by nature, but by the grace of a transforming union.  No greater gift could God have given us than to make us His friends.  The All-Good God makes us all-good again through Christ our Lord, if only we follow Him in sacrificial love and service through the cross to the resurrection and ascension.  Then, the final and full elevation and restoration of our whole human nature will be completed in heaven.

Now we have come full circle, and we remember that charity begins at home.  “Find the sick, the suffering, the lonely, right there where you are—in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and schools.” (St. Teresa of Calcutta)

 

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