Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard
Faith. Hope. Charity. These three theological virtues a Catholic will radiate if he expects his apostolate to have any fruit.
From these virtues he will be seen to also radiate: Kindness, Humility, Firmness and Gentleness.
Faith is manifested in actions and not words. Words, should be the result of action. For example, it was not the brilliance of St. Bernard's speech, but his disposition, his obvious Faith that attracted. Faith is a supernatural gift and can only be breached by God alone, and not the intellect. It is the holiness (or lack of) coming from the priest or the layman that assists in attracting (or repulsing) the us.
Hope is manifested by a man of prayer. The secret and joy of the Cross must be lived, or all our efforts will fall on stoney ground. This means to embrace suffering joyfully. Difficult, at times seemingly impossible, yet with Christ all is possible.
Charity is the road to sanctity. The detaching of a soul from sin is best achieved by living and demonstrating the love of Christ. The sinner (me and you) needs to catch a glimpse, a feeling, that they are engaged with a person who really loves Jesus Christ.
Kindness will come to the soul who is dominated by Christ. Words and actions will be full of kindness. Without kindness zeal is not charitable, and therefore not genuine. Fr. Faber tells us that "kindness shows itself the best pioneer of the Precious Blood..."
Humility is the living the words of Christ: "without me you can do nothing". St. Vincent de Paul warned his priests to consider themselves more fit for ruining than making success. The modern man, surrounded by individualism and a so-called false "liberty" has great difficulty with being humble. Without humility correct doctrine and good judgment will not preserve us from falling. Without Humility we are at the mercy of our passions.
Firmness and Gentleness implies that we be - like St. Bernard - pitiless towards errors - but showing great affection for the sinner. St. Francis de Sales astonished Protestants with his firmness and gentleness. Such meekness does not mean weakness. Our Lord excoriated the scribes and pharisees, yet out of love, and charity to prevent the spread of evil.
If we do anything less, we are, as St. Paul wrote: "enemies of the Cross". Catholicism is not social conformity, or a habit of external practices handed down by tradition. Religious practice to have real meaning must be united to the combat of passions, the living of the Gospel in daily life. It is impossible to win disciples for Christ if we have no interior life ourselves.
The above I drew liberally from the "The Soul of the Apostolate" by Dom Chautard.
To conclude. How do we now apply the above? I might ask myself: how am I carrying myself on this Blog? On Twitter? Where have I made progress, where have I backslid?
A priest might ask himself: what is the health of the souls in his parish? Do they see an apostle on fire for Christ? Or, do they see a social club? A Pope or bishop might ask himself: is he ruling the Church or his diocese like St. Francis de Sales? Is he proclaiming doctrine out of love for sinners and with absolute firmness in fighting the spread of evil?
The other week, we saw how not having an interior life amongst the bishops and priests of Ireland played a major role in the distain and rebellion of Catholics against Christ and His Church. Sodomy, murder in the form of abortion. These sins that cry to Heaven for Vengeance can only be embraced by a population truly paganised and debased. The Apostasy of the Irish Nation is primarily the fault of the churchmen. But that will be another post.