“You are God’s beloved called to be saints.” [Romans 1:7] Therefore our God: “Open to me the gates of holiness, I will enter and give thanks. This is the Lord’s own gate where the just may enter. I will thank You, for You have answered and You are my Saviour.” [Psalm 118:19-21] “***It is God’s will that you grow in holi***ness.” [1Thessalonians 4:3]
Jesus, in Your desire for our personal and communal holiness in living the gospel, You taught us, “Your light must shine in the sight of others, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16] You desire us not to obscure Your light in us. Therefore, to allow Your light to shine out from one’s life does not represent a display of pride. The light of Your love most clearly manifests in humble hearts that joyfully acknowledge that all goodness—all loving kindness—comes from You. “If anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:22]
We may feel doubtful and discouraged regarding our call to be saints, knowing how far from the reality we seem to others and to ourselves, yet most of us have little experience of how God perceives us. Therefore Jesus, give us trust to respond fully to the Spirit that shines through us before others. You encourage us to allow this radiant presence of the Spirit, saying, “If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of individuals, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.” [Matthew 10:32]
In accepting Your call to wholeness, we choose to love You above all and other persons as ourselves. This call requires us to take up our personal cross and follow You in love, prayer, and service of others. Therefore, it is not arrogant to seek sanctity, for to be truly holy means to be genuinely human. What is truly human is our creation in God’s image. Sin and indifference injures the fullness of our humanity.
Saint Therese of Lisieux encourages us in our attempts towards holiness in our vocation to love and serve. Of her own response to the call, she wrote, “This desire could certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how after seven years in the religious life, I am still weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I trust in God who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me the trials I have already mentioned.” Therese remarked that such holiness may “not be evident to the eyes of mortals.”
We draw hope from this saint of ‘the consecrated ordinary’, whom Pope John Paul 2 declared a Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. Many Sisters in her Carmelite community were unaware of the holiness of her ‘ordinary’ deeds of kindness, and doubted that anything worthwhile could appear in her obituary circular. I implore God for ‘everyday’ love and trust such as Therese maintained before temptations of doubt and suffering. Like her, in ordinariness made holy by union with Jesus our God who lived ‘the ordinary life’, we must become shining lights in an era when disbelief, humanism and self-absorption prevail.
We ask God to give us dynamic confidence that holiness is not reserved for a favoured few. As Saint Paul taught, “each soul is God’s favourite” and God desires fulfilment of each person’s call to love God above all and others as self. Every person has a unique vocation and purpose, intended to enrich each other person’s soul for all eternity.