Our Basic Vocation is Holiness! To become Holy like God (Leviticus). We are created precisely for this, to resemble and live in the Presence of the Triune God for all eternity!!
Pope Francis recently issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled, Gaudete et Exsultate, \”Rejoice and Be Glad\”, on this very subject. If you would like to read the pope\’s entire text, you can find it HERE. A friend of ours has written an article in which he offers 10 key points from the pope\’s document for our growth in Holiness.
- … the deepest meaning of our life. \”‘This is the will of God, your sanctification.’ Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect & embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.” “To the extent that each Christian grows in holiness [that] he or she will bear greater fruit for our world.”
- … found in ordinary daily life. It is often found “in our next-door neighbors,” among our “own mothers, grandmothers and loved ones,” who “living in our midst reflect God’s presence.” We are all called to this holiness “through small gestures,” mindful that “every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness.”
- … begins with desire. St. Thomas Aquinas stressed that to become a saint we have to “will it.” The whole Church should \”devote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness” and praying that God will “pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory.”
- God carries out the work of our sanctification through the traditional “means of sanctification already known to us: the various methods of prayer, the inestimable sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, the offering of personal sacrifices, different forms of devotion, spiritual direction, and many others.”
- … is more simply living the Beatitudes. “In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives: … being poor of heart, … reacting with meekness and humility, … knowing how to mourn with others, … hungering and thirsting for righteousness, … seeing and acting with mercy, … keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love, … sowing peace all around us, … accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems, that is holiness.”
- … flows from a life of prayer. “Holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent, expressed in prayer and adoration. ”There is not without prayer.”
- … our prayer must overflow into charity. The ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged, he says “is what we have done for others.”
- … our holy, self-giving love must be cheerful. “Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, … the saints are joyful and full of good humor.” The exhortation is entitled “Rejoice and Be Glad” because the Christian life is marked by “joy in the Holy Spirit,” which is what helps make holiness “the most attractive face of the Church.” Each of us is called to have that joyous face.
- … a battle that requires perseverance, patience, courage and meekness. “You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavor,” because “The Christian life is a constant battle. The battle is not just against the ways of the world or against our human weaknesses and inclinations; it’s also a “constant struggle against the devil” who incessantly seeks to divert us from the path of sanctity—and from God—in this world and in the next. For that reason, “Those who really wish to give glory to God by their lives, who truly long to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious.”
- … not principally a solitary battle, but one waged in communion with God and his faithful in heaven and on earth. “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others,” something we see in the Holy Family in Nazareth, in the early Church, in so many homes and religious communities today. We are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) urging us on to victory, so that we may truly become one as God is one, a communion of saints within the Triune communion. Among all the saints, stands Mary, who “teaches us the way of holiness and walks ever at our side.”
(HT: Fr. Roger Landry)