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Called to holiness


Since the earliest days of the Christian community, there have been ordinary women, men and children who have made a significant impact on the lives of those around them. The reason they have made an impact is because of their witness to faith in the risen Lord and their desire to be faithful followers of the Lord.

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Among those ordinary, everyday people were the first apostles, including those closest to Jesus who denied knowing him, doubted him, ran away from Golgotha when Jesus was dying on the cross, and seriously questioned him in the light of the events of those last days we have recently commemorated during the Easter Triduum. And yet, their failures and shortcomings were deemed unimportant when they experienced the peace of the risen Lord and the knowledge that they were deeply loved and forgiven. Their experience of God’s mercy through the Lord’s greeting, ‘peace be with you’ enabled them to deepen their faith and trust in the Lord, to experience forgiveness and to rejoice in the sure knowledge that, despite mistakes, they were still the Lord’s beloved people.

Pope Francis reminds us that we are all called to holiness – each in our own way, and that we are to become holy by living our daily lives with love and by bearing witness to the Lord in all that we do, and in whatever situation we find ourselves. He reminds us that because of our baptism we are called to bear fruit and to enable the Holy Spirit to work through us in all of our daily interactions with others. Though this is often challenging and difficult for us to achieve, what we are asked to do is to try to love ourselves and others as Christ has first loved us and to realise that he continues to share his risen life with us.

Baptism calls us into an intimate relationship with Christ, and into his mission of spreading the good news of God’s everlasting love, mercy, forgiveness and delight in us. This is what Christ promised to his followers and it continues to be true for us, individually, and as a community on mission. The mission into which we are baptised is to extend the reign of God, a kingdom of love, justice and universal peace. In our present days, surely this call resonates with all of us as we watch in horror and are moved to action on behalf of our fellow human beings – family members in the family of God’s people – who are suffering great injustices, impoverishment, loss of life and dignity in the futility of the present day conflicts between nations. Our call to holiness is also a call to be merciful to others and to let the light of Christ shine forth in our ordinary, everyday interactions with people.

We celebrate the feast days of many ‘universal saints’ each year. These are people who have lived the Christian life heroically, often sacrificing their lives for others, and always persevering in the journey of discipleship, despite hardships, suffering and often great doubt. These saints – such as Mary MacKillop, Oscar Romero, Francis Xavier, Josephine Bakhita, Mary Magdalene, Joseph, Vincent de Paul, Francis and Clare of Assisi,  to name only a few,  represent a host of magnificent Christian role models for us today.

Their lives and witness to Christ continue to inspire us. An important aspect of their lives was their ability to read the signs of their times and to find ways of addressing the issues, challenges and injustices of their times. To do this, they attended to their spiritual lives by engaging in prayer, reflecting on the gospels and doing good works. In these ways, they continue to inspire us as we seek ways to respond to the needs of our times. We recognise that we all need good role models and supporters, and for this reason, as children are being prepared to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation, they often choose the name of a saint to help them.

All of us are called to move forward confidently in our efforts to be faithful and pleasing to the Lord, for we have been graced by God and are all called to holiness.

Kathy Horan is the Archdiocese’s RCIA coordinator


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