Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We are Called to Holiness

We are called to a life of holiness. This is not some pep talk slogan for those who desire entry into sainthood. It is the founding principle by which we as Christians are to fulfill our work here on earth in the the pilgrim Church. What is holiness? The universal call to holiness in the Roman Catholic Church is rooted in baptism, a sacrament which configures a person to Jesus Christ who is God and man, thus uniting a person with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, bringing him in communion with intra-trinitarian life. As John Paul II states in At the Beginning of the New Millennium, his master plan for the new millennium, a "program for all times", holiness is not only a state but a task, whereby Christians should strive for a full Christian life, imitating Christ, the Son of God, who gave his life for God and for his neighbor. This entails a "training in the art of prayer". According to the Pope, all pastoral initiatives have to set in relation to holiness, as this has to be the topmost priority of the Church. As you start your day today consider the ways that you can begin to take steps towards a life of holiness. It must begin in prayer and contemplation. That requires an effort on our part to devout time. Like an athlete in training we must first plan what our training schedule is going to be. Then as we progress we must elevate the bar. Of course if you can run faster than any man on earth it doesn't matter until you put yourself to the test. Applying our contemplative life to our day to day living gives us a way of measuring our holiness. A good practice to use is the Examen Prayer which is a daily review of your behavior with respect to your spiritual life. I will write a little later on the Examen Prayer but any of the Jesuit links will have the most excellent information on it. As Paul says in Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect." We are called to a life of holiness. You and I can begin to heed that call today and further so as we enter the Lenten season.

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