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Fr Ray: The Call to Holiness

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 16th September 2018

'Rejoice and be Glad' (Gaudete et Exultate)is a pastoral letter of Pope Francis on the call to holiness in today's world. It is a personal letter from the Holy Father to each of us inviting us to put God not ourselves at the centre of our lives. He wants us to be saints and show the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time.

Paragraph 19. A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path for holiness, for 'this is the will of God, your sanctification (1Thess 4:3). Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.

Paragraph 23. This is a powerful summons to all of us. You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to Gad in prayer and recognising the signs that he gives you. Always ask the Spirit what Jesus expects from you at every moment of your life and in every decision you make, so as to discern its place in the mission you have received. Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery, that can reflect Jesus Christ in today's world.

Paragraph 26. It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while distaining service. Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world and become a part of our path to holiness. We are called to be contemplatives, even in the midst of action, and to grow in holiness by responsibly and generously carrying out our proper mission.

Paragraph 28. Needless to say, anything done out of our anxiety, pride or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness. We are challenged to show our commitment in such a way that everything we do has evangelical meaning and identifies us all the more with Jesus Christ.

Paragraph 29. This does not mean ignoring the need for moments of quiet, solitude and silence before God. Quite the contrary. The presence of constantly new gadgets, the excitement of travel and an endless array of consumer goods at times leaves no room for God's voice to be heard.

Paragraph 32. Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the father had in mind when he created you and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God to set us free from every form of enslavement leads us to recognise our great dignity.

Paragraph 34. Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the holy spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God's grace. For, in the words of Leon Bloy, when all is said and done, the only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint.

Fr. Ray Armstrong C.M.


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