Josemaria Escriva: “The first Apostles …, were nothing to boast about”
“The first Apostles, for whom I have great affection and devotion, were nothing to boast about, humanly speaking. With the exception of Matthew, who probably earned a comfortable living which he left behind at the behest of Jesus, the Apostles were mere fishermen. They lived a meagre existence, fishing all night to keep food on the table.
But social status is unimportant. They weren’t educated; they weren’t even very bright, if we judge from their reaction to supernatural things. Finding even the most elementary examples and comparisons beyond their reach, they would turn to the Master and ask: “Explain the parable to us.”
When Jesus uses the image of the “leaven” of the Pharisees, they think that he’s reproaching them for not having purchased bread.
They were poor; they were ignorant…
…did these men of little faith at least stand out in their love for Christ? Undoubtedly they loved him, at least in word. At times they were swept away by enthusiasm: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
But at the moment of truth, they all fled, except for John who truly loved with deeds. Only this adolescent, youngest of the Apostles, can be found next to the cross. The others didn’t find within themselves that love as strong as death.
These were the disciples called by our Lord. Such stuff is what Christ chose. And they remain just like that until they are filled with the Holy Spirit and thus become pillars of the Church.
They are ordinary men, complete with defects and shortcomings, more eager to say than to do. Nevertheless, Jesus calls them to be fishers of men, co-redeemers, dispensers of the grace of God.
Something similar has happened to us. With little effort we could find among our family, friends and acquaintances — not to mention the crowds of the world — so many worthier persons that Christ could have called. Yes, persons who are simpler and wiser, more influential and important, more grateful and generous.
In thinking along these lines, I feel embarrassed. But I also realize that human logic cannot possibly explain the world of grace. God usually seeks out deficient instruments so that the work can more clearly be seen to be his. It is with trembling that St Paul recalls his vocation: “And last of all, as by one born out of due time, he was seen also by me. For I am the least of the apostles, and am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God.” Thus writes Saul of Tarsus, whose personality and drive fill history with awe.”
-St Josemaria Escriva, The Christian Vocation