06 Holiness and the Vocation of the Laity - Fr Anthony J Fernandes

posted Jun 20, 2018, 9:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 20, 2018, 9:15 AM ]
As is characteristic of Pope Francis, his latest document, the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, has the practicality of daily life in mind: he simply wants to re-propose the call to holiness "for our own time". He explains that holiness lies at the heart of being a Christian, and it is not something high and unattainable. No, it can become visible in the most mediocre things. I found the various references to the fullness of life which God has created us for especially striking. I think it is a beautiful invitation to find our own path to holiness and follow Christ every day.

I believe holiness leads to the true vocation of the laity. The vocation of the laity in the Church is not pure activism, in the same way that "spiritual things" are not only for priests and men and women religious. The Christian experience of the laity is not reduced to encountering humanity. It takes place at the same time within an intimate encounter with God. The spiritual life that each baptised person is called to develop is not a running away from the world! It is essential to come back to the universal call addressed to all, and therefore to each faithful lay person, for this call implants its roots in Baptism and is strengthened by the other Sacraments. The baptised must therefore be a passionate person of God, ready to be a true witness at any time, and at any place.

The response to the call to holiness is not an abstract path, lost in the clouds. It is not a far-off and trivial desire. It is a true searching for the perfection of being, the fulfilment of the total person, such as God created him/her, such as God desires to see him/her fully develop. It is the search for true goodness for oneself, and also with and for others in a specific way; a goodness, a perfection that is found in authentic union with God and our brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is something very concrete that takes a lifetime and concerns all areas of life, not only what we strictly call 'spiritual life'. In the search for holiness, the Christian want to find his/her full development, his/her full accomplishment in conformity to Christ. The road is not easy. But it is essential to offer it as the heart of the Christian vocation from which all the rest follows, and to show that the journey on this path is not alone, but in solidarity, with Christ and with other baptised persons.

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