Holiness

By Marta
LEAP OF FAITH- http://faithleap.home.att.net

We are in the world but we are not of the world.  To guide others to the light, we are to be holy as our Father is holy.  Let’s remove all things that may take us away from holiness.  We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth.

 "You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lamp stand, where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."
Matthew 5:13-16

“Do not wait until you are older in order to set out on the path of holiness!
Holiness is always youthful, just as eternal is the youthfulness of God.”
Holy Father John Paul II, Toronto, Canada. July 27, 2002

 

What is holiness?  Holiness is a call to follow God in His ways; a call to obey His laws.  Does it mean that we will never sin?  No, as humans we are not perfect and we will fall into sin, but as followers of Christ we repent and ask for forgiveness to continue trying to be good. Trying to be good, doing our best that is what counts.

Pope John Paul II in this audience of November 24, 1993 talks about how the laity should strive for holiness:

 

      1. The Church is holy and all her members are called to holiness. Lay people participate in the Church's holiness as fully qualified members of the Christian community: this participation, which we could call ontological, also becomes for lay people a personal ethical commitment to sanctification. In this capacity and in this vocation to holiness, all the members of the Church are equal (cf. Gal 3:28). The degree of personal holiness does not depend on the position occurred in society or in the Church, but so rely on the degree to which charity is lived (cf. 1 Cor 13). A lay person who generously welcomes divine charity in his heart and in his life is holier than a priest or Bishop who accepts it half-heartedly.

 

      2. Christian holiness is rooted in adherence to Christ through faith and Baptism. This sacrament is at the origin of ecclesial communion in holiness, as is clear from Paul's text: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5) quoted by Vatican II, which draws from it the statement on the links Christians in Christ and in the Church (Lumen Gentium, n. 32). The ontological, ecclesiological and ethical holiness of every believer, whether cleric or lay person, is connected to this participation in Christ's life through Baptism.

 

      The Council asserts: "The followers of Christ, called by God not in virtue of their works but by his design and grace, and justified in the Lord Jesus, have been made children of God in the baptism of faith and partakers of the divine nature, and so are truly sanctified" (Lumen Gentium n. 40). Holiness means belonging to God; this belonging is realized in Baptism, when Christ takes possession of the human being, to make him "share in the divine nature" (cf. 2 Pt 1:4) which is in him by virtue of the Incarnation (cf. Summa Theol, III, q. 7, a. 13; q. 8, a. 5). Thus Christ truly becomes, as has been said, "the life of the soul". The sacramental character imprinted on the per-son by Baptism is the sign and the bond of consecration to God. This is why Paul, speaking of the baptized, calls them "saints" (cf. Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1, etc.).

 

 

Perfection is not the privilege of a few

 

 

      3. But as we have said, the commitment to ethical holiness derives from this ontological holiness. All, as the Council states, must "hold on to and perfect in their lives that sanctification which they have received from God" (Lumen Gentium, n. 40). All must strive for holiness, because they already possess the seed in themselves; they must nurture this holiness which has been given them. Everyone must live "as is fitting among saints" (Eph 5:3), and put on, "as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Col 3:12). In the baptized, the holiness that they possess shields them neither from temptation nor from every fault, because the weakness of human nature persists in this life. In this regard, the Council of Trent taught that no one is able to avoid even venial sin throughout his life without a special privilege from God, such as the Church believes was granted to the Blessed Virgin (cf. DS 1573). This leads to prayer to obtain an ever new grace from the Lord, perseverance in good, and the forgiveness of sins: "Forgive us our debts" (Mt 6:12).

 

      4. According to the Council, all of Christ's followers, including the laity, are called to the perfection of love (Lumen Gentium, n. 40). To strive for perfection is not the privilege of some, but an obligation for all the members of the Church. The commitment to Christian perfection means persevering on the way of holiness. As the Council states: "The Lord Jesus, divine teacher and model of perfection, preached holiness of life (of which he is the author and maker) to each. and every one of his disciples without distinction: 'You therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect'" (Mt 5:48), (Lumen Gentium, n. 40). Therefore, "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of love" (ibid.). Precisely through the sanctification of each person, a new human perfection is introduced in earthly society (ibid.). In the words of the Servant of God, Elizabeth Leseur, "Every soul that rises raises the world with it". The Council teaches that "from this holiness a more human manner of life is fostered even in earthly society" (ibid.)

 

      5. At this point it is necessary to observe that the infinite richness of Christ's grace in which mankind participates is transformed into an abundance and variety of gins with which each may serve and benefit others in the one body of the Church. When St. Peter exhorted Christians throughout Asia Minor to holiness, he recommended: "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Pt 4:10).

 

 

The divine call to holiness is valid for all

 

 

      Vatican II also states that "the forms and tasks of life are many but holiness is one that sanctity which is cultivated by all who act under God's Spirit" (Lumen Gentium, n. 41). Thus it recalls the way of holiness for Bishops, priests, deacons and clerics who aspire to become Christ's ministers, and "those lay people chosen by God, who are called by the Bishop to give themselves fully to apostolic works". But expressly it considers the way of holiness for Christians committed to marriage: "Christian married couples and parents, following their own way, should support one another in grace all through life with faithful love, and should train their children (lovingly received from God) in Christian doctrine and evangelical virtues. Because in this way they present to all an example of unfailing and generous love, they build up the brotherhood of charity, and they stand as witnesses and cooperators of the fruitfulness of Mother Church, as a sign of, and a share in that love with which Christ loved his bride and gave himself for her" (ibid).

 

      The discussion can and must be extended to the circumstances of people who live alone, either by free choice or through events and special circumstances: such as unmarried men and women, widowers and widows, those who are separated or distant. The divine call to holiness is valid for all, realized in the form of charity. The discussion can and must be extended, as at the 1987 Synod (cf. Christifideles Laici, n. 17), to those who in their ordinary professional life and daily work are working for the good of their brothers and sisters and the progress of society, in the imitation of Jesus the worker. It can and must be extended, finally, to all those who, as the Council states, "are weighed down by poverty, infirmity, sickness and other hardships" . . . or "who suffer persecution for the sake of justice": these are "united in a special way to Christ who suffers for the salvation of the world" (Lumen Gentium, n. 41).

 

      6. Therefore numerous aspects and forms of Christian holiness are open to lay people in the various circumstances of their life in which they are called to imitate Christ, and from him they can receive the necessary grace to fulfill their mission in the world. All are invited by God to walk the way of holiness and to attract to this path their companions in life and work in the world of temporal affairs.

From the audience of Pope John Paul II, November 24, 1993.

  

As we walk on the road of life we need companions to walk with us, people who are trying to be good.  If we want to be holy we have to foster peace and harmony in our homes and in our surroundings.  We need to go to the Eucharist every day to avail ourselves of the graces to pursue His ways.  We need to pray for one another so we may be successful in our strive for holiness.  God has given us a gift, the gift of life, what we do with it is our gift to Him.  Praise be His name.

Written by Marta
LEAP OF FAITH- http://faithleap.home.att.net

July 28, 2002

 

 

Holiness!
This is the grace and aim of every believer,
as the Book of Leviticus reminds us:
"Be holy, because I, the Lord, your God, am Holy" (Leviticus 19:2).

Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II For The XXXIX World Day Of Prayer For Vocations –
April 21, 2002

 

 

Strive for peace with everyone,
and for that holiness
without which no one will see the Lord.
Heb 12:14

 

Just as salt gives flavor to food
and light illumines the darkness
 so too holiness gives full meaning to life
and makes it reflect God’s glory.
Message of The Holy Father to The Youth of The World
On The Occasion of The VIII World Youth Day
Toronto -
July 25, 2001

 

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion,
through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power.
Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature,
after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance,
endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.
If these are yours and increase in abundance,
they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:2-8

“You are the salt of the earth...
You are the light of the world.

Mt 5:13-14

July 28, 2002

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