by Catherine Doherty.
One of my techniques in loving others is what I call the "chitchat apostolate," a homey, person-to-person approach. It is a way of loving and of discovering the real needs of people, whether material or spiritual or any other, and our group has always engaged in it.
The chitchat apostolate is but another word for friendships that are formed casually, but not so casually.
The chitchat apostolate is very ordinary. When we are walking or traveling, we can be filled with our own thoughts, or we can love and be concerned about the people we meet, every step of the way.
But often we are afraid to meet the other, the stranger. This inner freedom to open a conversation is achieved by prayer.
At first, chitchat seems to be a fragile suspension bridge to the other, but slowly it becomes a solid, well-built steel bridge of friendship.
We are called to live out our friendship in the marketplace. For if we wish to bind ourselves to others, we need to be where they are. We go about it very quietly, without hurry.
Out of this chitchat apostolate, intangibles come forth. We identify with people, which is the hardest part of any apostolate. We are poor with the poor, as Christ was. We are weak with the weak, and an incredible inner strength comes through this.
We must become all in all in our love and daily service to others.
—Adapted from Living the Gospel Without Compromise, p. 84, available from MH Publications.
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