Called to Holiness

By Easter, Opal | Momentum, February/March 2012 | Go to article overview

Called to Holiness


Easter, Opal, Momentum


Raising Vocation Awareness

Educators have been given the awesome responsibility of contributing to the education of young people who we hope will grow into men and women of God serving in the world

In Leviticus 19:2 we are told to "be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy" and in Matthew 5:48 we are told to "... be perfect, just as our heavenly father is perfect." The "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" (Lumen Gentium, 1988) explains these further:

"The Lord Jesus, divine teacher and model of all perfection, preached holiness of life.. .to each and every one of his disciples without distinction.... For he sent the Holy Spirit to all to move them interiorly to love God with their who/e heart, with their whole soul, with their whole understanding, and with their whole strength ( Mk. 12:30), and to love one another as Christ loved them (Jn. 13:34; 15:12). The followers of Christ, called by God... by his design and grace, and justified in the Lord Jesus, have been made...(children) of God in the baptism of faith and partakers of the divine nature, and so are truly sanctified. They must therefore hold on to and perfect in their lives that sanctification which they have received from God" (No. 40). (Emphasis is mine.)

This is what the church calls the "universal call to holinesss," a call to serve God and one another. It is our baptismal call and commission. The "United States Catholic Catechism for Adults" (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006) says that:

Living out one's baptism is a lifelong responsibility. Growing in holiness and discipleship involves a willingness to continue to learn throughout one's whole life about the faith and how to live it. It a/so involves a willingness to support and encourage others... (in the) ongoing process of conversion of heart and mind to God, which result in the holiness to which we are called (pp. 196-197).

Our Vocational Calls

We live out our call to holiness through our vocational calls. Life is a journey of continuous conversion and ongoing transformation. It is a journey of growth in spiritual, intellectual and human maturity. It is a journey of many and varied calls. God has called some to be single or married, to be priests, deacons or religious brothers or sisters. God has also called you to be educators.

We respond to God's calls with faith and trust in God. We answer relying on God's unending grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit living within us. God gives grace after grace to sustain us as we serve. "...God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8).

Not only are we to nurture each of our own vocational calls, but those of others as well. In his message on the 42nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations (April 17, 2005), Pope John Paul Il directed the following remarks to Christian educators and catechists regarding their role in nurturing vocations:

God has entrusted to you the peculiar task of guiding young people on the path to holiness. Be an example to them of generous fidelity to Christ. Encourage them to 'put out into the deep' without hesitation, responding eagerly to the invitation of the Lord. Some he calls to family life, others to consecrated life or to the ministerial priesthood. Help them to discern their path, and to become true friends of Christ and his true disciples. When adult Christians show themselves capable of revealing the face of Christ through their own words and exampfe, young people are more ready to welcome His demanding message, stamped as it is with the mystery of the Cross.

You have been given specific roles to carry out in the mission of Jesus Christ. These are roles that no one else can perform for the people you touch at this time in salvation history. You have been given the awesome responsibility of contributing to the education of young people who we hope will grow into men and women of God serving in the world. …

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