Mar 18, 2008
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Each year the Church invites us to celebrate the great season of Lent emphasizing both baptism and conversion. Catechumens are preparing for baptism, while we who are baptized recall our baptism and recognize our own need for ongoing conversion. The Second Vatican Council reminded all the faithful, clergy, religious and laity that we are called to holiness. Holiness is not an option just for a few! Every baptized person is called to holiness, which means to be a saint!
“The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and every one of His disciples, regardless of their situation: ‘You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt. 5:48). He Himself stands as the Author and Finisher of this holiness of life. He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might inspire them from within to love God with their whole heart and their whole soul, with all their mind and strength (cf. Mk. 12:30) and that they might love one another as Christ loved them (cf. Jn. 13:34; 15:12)” (Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church 40).
The Lord himself commands us to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” While this is impossible if we depend on ourselves, it is possible if we depend on the grace that God desires to bestow upon us. Holiness is the work of the Trinity and our work is to receive the gifts the Spirit desires to pour out on us. Growth in holiness means to become like Jesus – to know our true identity as the beloved daughters and sons of God, to live the virtues, to choose the good and avoid the evil, to love as Jesus loved. “To be perfect” means to be perfect in charity, loving God above all things and loving our neighbor as ourselves.