“Holiness, whether ascribed to Popes well-known to history or to humble lay and religious figures, from one continent to another of the globe, has emerged more clearly as the dimension which expresses best the mystery of the Church. Holiness, a message that convinces without the need for words, is the living reflection of the face of Christ.” - Pope John Paul II
The quote speaks for itself… eh? Holiness, as John Paul II reflected, is the way in which we bring the living Christ to the world. Last article I reflected on the call for all of us, no matter who we are, to “go unto all the world and proclaim the Good News.” I began by speaking about the little ways in which we are called to bring this ‘New Evangelization’ to the world. I wrote about my parents, who by their profession of faith (simply taking me to Mass each Sunday) instilled in me a love for God. In this article, I will speak on the most important form of evangelization of all, holiness.
Let’s be honest, the word is a loaded one. Holiness in no way takes on one specific way, shape, or form. What do I mean by that? I mean that all of us have been given a way, a shape and a form for a particular way of living within our God. No path is the same. No saint is the same. When Mother Teresa was told by a woman she wished she could do what Mother did, Mother immediately responded with the words, you can’t, and you never will… you will do greater things she went on to say. Mothers point was we have all been given a duty. That duty is the same in the sense that it is to always follow our Lord’s will, and His will is lived out in over six billion ways.
Jesus Christ, calling each of us to “be His hands and feet,” as St. Theresa repeated many times, is patiently awaiting our "yes." With that yes, the yes to holiness (responding to His will) our lives and the world is changed. Is there any greater witness than responding and living that yes each day of our lives? Sure, we will be mocked. We will be ridiculed and called hypocrites. We may even have to literally give our lives as so many Christian martyrs have done, but we will bring the world, by our example, the un-failing love of our God.
This week, as we go off to our schools and workplaces let us be reminded that we are called to let Christ live within us. It is done imperfectly as we all too well understand, but the point is, it is done. And then, with the grace of God, we can become the living Saints He has destined us to be.
Jon Leonetti is the author of two books entitled - Mission of the Family and Your God Is Too Boring. He currently travels the country giving keynote presentations and parish missions. Learn more by visiting jonleonetti.com
The Live Greater Foundation exists to encourage ordinary people to live in extraordinary ways. Learn more about their work at livegreaterfoundation.org.
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.