Today, we begin a look at lay women and men, “Faithful … disciples and missionaries of Jesus, Light of the world.”
Let’s begin with a definition:
209. The laity are:
by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.(Cf. Lumen Gentium 31)
They are “human beings of the Church in the midst of the world, and human beings of the world living within the Church.” (Puebla 786)
We lay people have a very wide palette on which to paint and to serve the Master:
210. Their proper and speciﬁc mission takes place in the world, in such a way that, through their witness and activity, they contribute the transformation of situations and the creation of just structures according to the criteria of the Gospel.
Our place in the world is not governed by the rules and expectations of the world, but by the Gospel mission of Jesus.
Some particular areas:
Their own ﬁeld of evangelizing activity is the vast and complicated world of politics, society and economics, but also the world of culture, of the sciences and the arts, of international life, of the mass media.
And “realities,” or aspects where clergy have not as much reach:
It also includes other realities which are open to evangelization, such as human love, the family, the education of children and adolescents, professional work, suffering.(Evangelii Nuntiandi 70)
Good behavior is expected of the Christian disciple:
It is also their duty to make the faith they profess credible by displaying authenticity and coherency in their conduct.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.