Faith is a gift which begins often in the most insignificant way. Most of us received our Christian faith from our parents/guardians. We grow up bearing the Christian identity as part of our lives, just as we often grow with the language we are born into. But at a stage in life, we come to recognize and appreciate the value of the faith that is handed on to us. We come to understand the faith in order to identify with it and profess it. By so doing, we live the faith we have received not as imposition but as a choice we have made, having experienced and appreciated it. We deeply get rooted in it, build on it and hold firm to it. This is what makes us Apostles.
When Jesus chose the twelve from His many disciples to be His Apostles, He was looking for people who are willing to keep the faith and identify themselves in it. He saw them as people who will see their lives as identical with the faith. They were his closest companions, people he would entrust the faith to when he is gone. They were people who have been circumcised in the faith. An Apostle is like an ambassador, a closer witness of Christ whose normal life is living the faith.
Faith As a Choice
I remember when I thought that life in the seminary was like taking up a role. Then I saw the life inside the seminary as different from the normal life I lived outside the walls. Inside the seminary I felt so constrained to obey the rules and follow instructions. And when I go outside, I felt that I was free and under no regulations. But surprisingly I still see myself behaving like a seminarian when I go out, albeit this time there is no feeling of constraint.
Our faith journey is not an imposition. This is because, faith might be a gift we received unconsciously from our forbearers, but it does not limit our freedom. Our maturity in faith enables us to freely identify with the deposits we have received. Hence, faith is our choice. When we say we have faith, we are only expressing and appreciating our preference, namely God. And when we come to identify with and tailor our lives alongside this precious gift, we become Apostles, committed to keeping the faith and sharing it with others. Our life becomes our faith, and our faith becomes our life.