what does ii mean to be a "soldier of Jesus Christ"? S.P. THIS TITLE comes from the catechism answer and refers to the effects and responsibilities of the sacrament of Confirmation. I suppose its actual words are rather out-dated now, but nevertheless the meaning behind them remains the same.
To be a "soldier of Jesus Christ" is to accept the share we are given in the apostolate and which is entrusted to us at Confirmation. This is the apostolate to be ready to preach the faith to other people.
Through Confirmation no longer are we just sharers in the life of Easter and joyful witnesses of the Resurrection as we are at baptism, but we receive the Holy Spirit and like the Apostles at Pentecost a mission along with it.
At first sight, preaching the faith brings to mind images of having to find a pulpit or a street corner from which to proclaim Christ directly to other people. But there are many other ways of preaching, and often, if not usually, these are better ways.
If we look at Jesus Himself in the Gospels, although it is true
that we remember his words especially (e.g. the beatitudes, or the Our Father), nevertheless one main reason why people listened to Him at all was because He often preached in other ways too — for example, feeding the 5,000, raising Lazarus, or walking on the water for the benefit of the fishermen Apostles. He showed that his words were more than just sounds, by this actionpreaching.
Imitating Christ, it is often what we as confirmed Christians try to do the same, knowing that we can use Him as our model. The effort made of being warm and friendly in our parish, or of noticing people who need help, can be as useful to the mission of Christ's Church as the formal sermon, which itself is given life by such important back-up activities. So being a soldier of Jesus Christ is much more than being ready to speak about the faith.
Queries, please, to Fr P Sanders, Question Box, Catholic Herald, Herald House, Lambs Passage, Bunhill Row, London E.C. I. sae appreciated.