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The Apostolate of Family

When I really started forming an identity in my faith as an individual, there was a word that was often used that stuck with me from the very beginning. It was a call to take my faith into the world.

The word was: Apostolate.

I was constantly praying to be better in my apostolate, I was receiving the sacraments so my apostolate would be more fruitful, and I was working my tail off because I was being trained to know that apostolate was at the heart of being a Christian.

I eventually got to a point where my family was growing and my apostolate work had worn me to the ground. The pressure from myself to do and serve and start things up and run things well had pretty much driven me to exhaustion. I was very torn between being home and serving outside of my home.

My hands were busy working in both places, but my heart was torn.

When I moved to Rhode Island in 2014, all of my apostolate work came to a quick and sudden halt. In many ways my prayers were answered because in the deepest part of me, I just wanted to be wife and mom in this moment and Our Lord confirmed that He was indeed calling me to let go of all the other ways I was serving. Yet, I worried that it just wasn’t enough.

It was very hard to find Catholic community when we arrived in our new state. As Catholics, my husband and I never considered ourselves “church hoppers” but we found ourselves jumping in every direction to find families with similar values and a vibrant family life.

It was through this that I stumbled across Opus Dei when I was invited to a retreat, and then a morning of reflection, and then a couples group with formation talks. It was very similar to the community I had known in Nashville.

It was perfect timing for St. Josemaria Escriva to step into my life. What a refreshing meeting we had!

St. Josemaria broke my eyes and heart open to his teaching on “my family being my apostolate” and I began to feel free.

For the first time it started to really sink into my heart that raising these precious souls God entrusted me with was such a huge mission, for me and for them. Yes, I needed to serve my church and community, but the very best way to scatter holiness was to embrace the fullness of my vocation in the state of my life. It would be my means to holiness… and in turn, I pray God would use that to their advantage through his grace.

It was in my home that I was being sanctified.

It was in the dishes and changing of diapers that I was changing the world. St. Josemaria taught me that loving in everyday, ordinary life is worth more than a thousand apostolates outside the walls of my domestic church.

St. Josemaria illustrated this teaching of his when he said,

“I assure you, my children, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you so often, and hammered away at it, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.”

This saint allowed me to discover that every moment of my life of service wasn’t going to be venturing out into the world to win souls for Christ, but could carry just as much value in my ordinary tasks as wife and mom.

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Kristi Bentley

Kristi is a wife and homeschooling mom of 5 (3 boys, 2 girls) who loves to read to her kids, dance in the kitchen, craves silence and enjoys all the books about mystics & the interior life, and has an addiction to Tate’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

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