Our Call to Holiness

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Our Call to Holiness

By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to holiness. Lumen Gentium, the central document of the Second Vatican Council, said that the call to holiness is indeed universal, embracing all baptized Christians. All men, women, and children of every age, in every state of life, condition, talent, and profession are called to holiness, to love and serve God. It is the universal vocation of all of us. Within that universal call, each person has a particular call to live a life of holiness. That particular call is to the married life, the single state, the priesthood, or religious life. One’s vocation is the way each person is equipped to live their life of holiness. All through Scripture we see this call to holiness as the call to the Christian life. It is not a fluke that God created us and called us to be his holy people. In Leviticus we hear that we are to be holy because the Lord God is holy (Leviticus 19:2). In that call we are to bear no hatred, reprove one another but incur no sin, take no revenge, cherish no grudge, and love your neighbor as yourself.

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). We have every reason to believe that holiness is not beyond our reach. God would never call us to something that was impossible. In Psalm 103 we are told that the Lord is kind and merciful. Therefore, it is possible to achieve this life of holiness. God wants it for us. Answering the call to holiness requires conversion, a transformation. We need to ask ourselves, “How does God dream me to be? How am I to live my life of holiness? What is my particular vocation?” Responding to a call of holiness is not a onetime thing. It is not a static achievement but a continued response and renewal of commitment. We keep striving moment by moment and day by day for authentic holiness.

Practically speaking, in answering our call to holiness we need to see God is everything and imitate Jesus in all we do. As we accept God’s call, we choose God and others above ourselves and unite our will to God’s. Holiness requires that we live a life rooted in prayer and the practice of virtue. It could be said that holiness is really a synonym for being well-rounded and whole. These words get to the heart of what God intended human beings to be. As Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is humanity fully alive.” Each of us must discover the way in which we will find fulfillment in this life so that we may be with God forever in heaven. This ought to be our life-long goal. To be holy is not a privilege for the few, but a vocation for everyone.

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“Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.”
–Henri Nouwen