Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Church's need for holiness

Yes, it needs saints, more than reformers, because saints are the most authentic and productive reformers. Every great period of renewal in the Church is linked to important testimonials of holiness. Without such testimonials, the updating undertaken by the Councils would be illusive.

But the conviction that we must share and spread this call to holiness is addressed to all Christians. This call is not the privilege of a spiritual elite. Nor is it for a few who feel heroic courage. Still less is it a tranquil refuge, suited to a certain type of piety or to certain eccentric temperaments. It is a grace offered to all the baptized, in varying forms and degrees.

It is not reserved for particular states of life, although some favor it, or for the practice of certain professions. St. Francis de Sales showed effectively that holiness, with piety or devotion, could be an attribute of men and women in any family situation or career. Thus lay people must be encouraged to live every aspect of their life in the world -- whatever the specific circumstances in which God has placed them -- in a holy manner, in faith, hope, and love. In this sense, there is a kind of holiness specific to lay people.

John Paul II, 6/7/1986

(With a tip of the gimme cap to Ad Altare Dei).