Ss. Timothy and Titus collaborated with St. Paul to spread the Gospel and the Church honours them as apostles. They are two of our first bishops, and no matter how the role of bishops has changed over the centuries, their mission remains the same: to encourage believers to persevere and keep growing in their faith. Bishops are called by God to dedicate their lives to helping all people reach their fullest potential in Christ.
None of us are bishops and the likelihood is none of us ever will be, but we are all in a network of relationships with other people whose lives we can touch and influence: our fellow Sisters, our relatives, friends, parishioners and those with whom we come into contact through our work. In all of these relationships, we can take an interest in people’s spiritual lives and encourage them to fan into flame the wonderful gifts that God has given them. St. Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Titus is a model of how we can become agents of encouragement and inspiration.
It’s obvious that Paul was personally involved certainly in Timothy’s life. It was from this position of friendship that Paul was able to recognize Timothy’s gifts and encourage him to use them. His friendship with Timothy also gave Paul the freedom to help him set the unshakable truths of the Gospel as the foundation for his life.
This is a model for us as well. Even when we are busy with other things, we can still learn how to pay attention to the people around us, connecting with them and learning about their hopes and fears, their joys and challenges. We can identify the gifts that other people have and encourage them to use these gifts to build up the Church. And we can take opportunities to encourage our friends when their faith is wavering. We don’t have to be bishops or parish priests to make a difference in the Church. We can all encourage each other and build each other up, fanning the flame in each other’s lives until the whole Church is burning with love for God.