My beloved the benevolent
Grace and peace wishing you every goodness and blessing
In this month we celebrate the Apostle’s Feast which is the feast of the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul. I would like to contemplate with you on the integrated ministry our fathers, the Apostles, offered through the Book of Acts. What is meant by integrated ministry is a service that cares for all aspects of a person’s life. A person is one entity, and although his needs could be divided into spiritual, social, health, economical needs, etc., but in reality all of these needs are related to each other. If a person suffers psychologically, his spiritual life gets affected, his health might be affected, his work as well as his family and so on and so forth. Therefore, a true service is one that cares for a person as a whole.
Our Lord Jesus Christ offers us an example of integrated ministry. Christ cared about teaching the multitude and also feeding them, He cared for the sinful woman who came crying and repenting and also cared for the woman with the infirmity. The Lord Christ cared for the needs of St. Peter and his family when he toiled all night fishing and could not catch anything, but He also cared to invite him to something greater than fishing for fish: to be a fisherman of souls.
In the story of the fall of man we find that man had sinned, disobeyed and fell under the sentence of death which God had warned him of saying, “…for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.” Gen. 2:17 Adam and Eve ate from the tree and they died spiritually due to their separation from God. But their lives were affected in every way: they were removed from the garden of Eden, the ground was cursed because of him and it brought forth thorns and thistles, and man was under the toil. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Gen. 3:19 As for the woman she was told, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Gen.3:16 And the first family suffered division as Cain killed his brother Able and ran away.
Sin affected man socially, economically and health-wise. Spiritual service should care for all aspects of a person’s life, and if a person in need is neglected, he will get weak spiritually and is at risk of losing his faith altogether. Fulfilling the human being needs may lead to the establishment of strong spiritual life. The man born blind did not know Christ, but when Christ opened the man’s eyes, his heart was opened as well. He accepted Him not only as a prophet, but even more, he believed that He was the Son of God and worshiped Him.
Our fathers the apostles learned from Christ’s example in the integrated ministry. The church of the apostles cared enough that no one should be in need among them. Our fathers the apostles used to distribute the money that was thrown under their feet. They established the rank of deacons which involved the ministry of serving the tables, they also began the ministry for the widows that St. Paul addressed. (see 1 Tim.: 5:3-16)
When St. Peter and St. John went to the temple and saw the lame man, they did not offer gold or silver but St. Peter the apostle said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength so he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them walking, leaping and praising God.” Acts 3:6-8 Our fathers the apostles preached the faith and called the multitude to repent and believe in Christ. They also cared for the sick and needy; they healed the sick, helped the poor, and cared for the prisoners, thus they had an integrated ministry that cared for every person and cared for the person as a whole.
May The Lord bless your offerings for supporting St. Verena Charity which takes the example from Christ The Lord and our fathers the apostles in the integrated ministry.