Anchor Verse: “Be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy.” (1 Peter 1:15 GNT)
Do we remember the day we were baptized? Some do but most of us who were baptized when we were infants would not remember anything. It was our parents and godparents who answered the questions in our baptismal vows. Now that we are adults, let us reflect on our profession of faith and what this entails.
A good starting point is to recall the words our Father spoke during the baptism of our Lord Jesus in the river Jordan. After Jesus came out of the water, the sky opened and a voice said, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). This affirms the relationship of the Father with Jesus and bestows the God-given authority for his messianic mission.
In the same way, our own baptism not only takes away original sin but also confers on us a mission. Likewise, it establishes our own relationship with God assuring us of His love and His grace given us in baptism to live a life of holiness.
Pope Francis in Gaudete et Exsultate (GE) 15, encourages us to: “Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God, turn to him in every situation. Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life (cf. Galatians 5: 22-23).
A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for “this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel. (GE 19) The prophet Jeremiah speaks about this unique plan that God willed for each one of us from eternity, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
There can be any number of theories about what constitutes holiness, with various explanations and distinctions. Such reflection may be useful, but nothing is more enlightening than turning to Jesus’ words and seeing his way of teaching the truth. Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23)… The word “happy” or “blessed” thus becomes a synonym for “holy”. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness. (GE 63-64)
The call to holiness has two dimensions: personal and communal. Let us deal with the first in this article.
First, the personal: For the Lord has chosen each one of us “to be holy and blameless before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4)
“The common life, whether in the family, the parish, the religious community or any other, is made up of small everyday things. This was true of the holy community formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph, which reflected in an exemplary way the beauty of the Trinitarian communion. It was also true of the life that Jesus shared with his disciples and with ordinary people. Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details: The little detail that wine was running out at a party; that one sheep was missing; of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins; of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay; of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had; of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak” (GE 143-144).
The most important aspect of everyday holiness is in family relationship especially between husband and wife. We will find most helpful in our reflection on this subject the 4th Chapter (Love in Marriage) of Amoris Laetitia (AL) which Pope Francis expounded on the lyrical passage of St. Paul where we see some features of true love:
“Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous or boastful; it is not rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Love is experienced and nurtured in the daily life of couples and their children. It is helpful to think more deeply about the meaning of this Pauline text and its relevance for the concrete situation of every family. (AL 90)
As the Lord has done, so must we if we desire to grow in everyday personal holiness by growing in conjugal love!
- Read Chapter 4 of Amoris Laetitia from No. 89 – 122.
- Reflect on one or two paragraphs that made a strong impact on you. What area of growth is being emphasized in your reflection and how will you express your simple acts of love to your spouse and/ or children?