In the Gospel of St. Luke chapter five, Jesus is busy engaged in His apostolic work of preaching the Word of God. The Apostles were fishing without any success. However, Jesus asks Peter to let Him in his boat, and Jesus continues teaching from the boat of Peter. After Jesus has finished His teaching He tells Peter to drop the nets for the catch. Even though Peter has worked hard all night and does not expect any success at that time and place, still he obeys Jesus and lowers the nets. The result was so fantastic that Peter had to call his mates to help him to pull in the abundant catch. Why such a catch? For the simple reason that Peter was with Jesus in the boat, he listened to the Words of Jesus and He obeyed Jesus by dropping the nets at the Lord’s command.
Like Peter we are called to catch fish. Jesus said, “You will now be fishers of men.” That is the purpose of the apostolic life— to fish men; in other words to drop the nets and save souls.
Following are fifteen concrete suggestions on how all of us can be “fishers of men” to be true apostles and to collaborate with Jesus in saving immortal souls for the Kingdom of God. Prayerfully read— better yet, meditate—on these suggestions! Then choose whatever project the Holy Spirit inspires in you, talk it out with your spiritual director, and then GO FISHING!!!!!
1. Family prayer. Encourage the family to bless the meals before eating!
2. Family Rosary. “The family that prays together stays together.”
3. Holy Images. Replace mundane and worldly images (Calendars or Almanacs) with Holy Images and paintings of Jesus, Mary, the angels and saints.
4. Enthronement. Enthrone the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Divine Mercy in your home. May Jesus reign as King and Mary as Queen.
5. Scripture. Enthrone the Bible in a prominent place in between two candles. However, make sure that it is not simply a decoration but to be read and meditated. The saying is true: “He who has a Bible that is falling apart will not have his life falling apart.”
6. Library. Have a good library with good books: Bible, the lives of the saints, examination of conscience, and the writings of the Popes, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, as well as good catholic magazines or newspapers. Reading of a good book could save a soul! (Example of St. Ignatius)
7. Film Library. In the modern electronic world, we should keep up with the times. Especially in the past ten to fifteen years, Ignatius Press has done marvels in not only publishing excellent books but also in making excellent movies, especially depicting the lives of the saints. Worthy of mention are St. John Bosco, Padre Pio, St. Rita, Bakhita, St. Augustine and the Popes: Pope St John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, and of course Pope St. John Paul II—and these are just a handful among a multitude!
8. Movie Night. These videos or DVD’s are not meant to simply collect dust, but to be seen! Choose a night every week to be family night. Buy Pizza and watch the life of a saint together and then discuss it afterward. This could be a very powerful means by which you can evangelize your family using modern electronic media! Go for it!
9. Monthly Confession. Let the Dad decide and organize and carry out the monthly day/night of confession. All must go! Why? We are all sinners, except Jesus and Mary! Let Mom and Dad go first so as to give good example to the children. Example speaks more powerful than words. The Hispanics have a proverb: “El ejemplo arrastra”—example pulls (drags).
10. Family Apostolate. With the whole family why not do some type of Apostolate together as a team and as a family? There are many options to choose from! As a family walk and pray the Rosary in front of an abortion mill in defense of the unborn child. This apostolate will leave an indelible impression on the children even into their adult years. Our contemplative life must overflow into our active life or apostolate.
11. A Marian Apostle. First of all be fervent and faithful in praying your own daily Rosary. Going into the apostolic field why not get others to pray the Rosary. Start with your family which is the “Domestic Church”. Then encourage the Rosary in your Parish; then promote it wherever the opportunity arises.
12. The Rosary. Get mothers and fathers to pray the Rosary on a weekly basis in one family; then change homes and families every week. Set up an altar with a statue of Mary, candles with the Rosaries in a basket; light a candle and pray. Have Rosary pamphlets and Rosaries available to give as gifts.
13. Novena of Rosaries. It is a very opportune time to pray after somebody dies. Even non-believers or Catholics that have wandered from the fold— they are in the millions— are vulnerable and open to pray for a deceased loved one. Why not visit the home for nine days and pray the Rosary nine days consecutively. This can fortify the faith of the stronger ones and recover the faith of the weak and struggling believers!
14. Frequent Confession. Pope Pius XII stated: “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” There is an urgent need to form the consciences of the believers. What better way than to invite them to come back to the church by means of a sacramental confession. Have a bulletin available to give at will. Then why not invest some resources in acquiring a good booklet on Examination of conscience. If you like mine is available free of charge online, and is called Modern Examination of Conscience. It is interesting how often people who read a detailed Examination of Conscience will often say: “I did not know that is a sin….” Why this response? Because a weakly formed conscience is almost universal today. At the time of Jonah many people did not know their left hand from their right hand. Today many people do not know their right hand from their left hand in the spiritual life. In sum, become an apostle of the Sacrament of Confession!
15. Apostle of Divine Mercy. Jesus said through the “Apostle of Divine Mercy” Saint Faustina Kowalska that His greatest attribute is His Infinite mercy. Pope John Paul II reiterates this key Christian concept in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia—God is rich in mercy. Maybe you are called to be an apostle of Divine mercy! How? Read the Diary of Saint Faustina and then live it out! A concrete way that this could be done would be to get people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the mercy hour (3:00 p.m.) or any time. However, there is also a special time and place to promote this wonderful practice of Divine mercy and the praying of the Chaplet: when somebody is on his deathbed about to pass from this life into the next and to be judged by Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Why not carry on your person the little Divine Mercy prayer cards and then pass them out free of charge. Then get as many people to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as the dying person passes from this life into the next. The wonderful promise of Jesus for the dying is that if somebody is praying the Chaplet of Divine mercy when somebody is dying then this soul will attain the mercy of God and eternal salvation. Be an Apostle of Divine Mercy! What an excellent manner to express apostolic zeal!