The Scriptures call the faithful to holiness:
Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy.”
Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began…
And the Catechism is right clear as well:
2013 “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”65 All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”66
- In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.67
2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments – “the holy mysteries” – and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.
2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.
I can attest to the battle aspect of pursuing holiness. I say that because frankly and bluntly, I suck at being holy. Seriously.
When I think of holy men and women, I think of those who are gentle, meek, humble, kind, quiet and sweet. I am rarely any one of those things at any one time, much less all of them at once. In fact, I think it not to be a stretch to say that I’m the opposite of those things daily.
Yet, I want to be holy. I do. I’d love to one day, when I’m dead and gone, have someone remember me as a holy person. That would be significant. That would be incredible. That would be miraculous.
I say all this because yesterday, I came across what follows:
“Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness… Consequently, it is not the fact that we have never erred but our capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness which makes us saints. And we can all learn this way of holiness”
~Pope Benedict XVI
I have a huge capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness. I’m constantly willing to kiss and make up… or at least hug and do so.
I’m willing to bet many of us do who are striving to be faithful.
Pope Benedict’s words are a game changer in many respects. He’s suggesting that we who are earthy, we who are chief among sinners, we who offend frequently and fall way too often, we have a chance to not only be holy but… to be saintly.
That’s pretty cool, pretty hopeful, pretty awesome.
There’s a chance I could still become a saint.
Thanks be to God.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.