Our Call to Holiness
We have officially entered the Fall season of ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS, a good time to think back on the wonderful proclamation coming out of the Second Vatican Council called:
THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS
Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity [holiness]; by this holiness, as such, a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society.
In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history. The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one—that sanctity, which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ in order to be worthy of being sharers in His glory. Every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity.
— VATICAN II, Council Document: Lumen Gentium 40, 41
Isn’t it interesting that the document, after building up the call to holiness, states that the outcome will be “a more human manner of living.” It almost sounds anticlimactic. Just human? Except that human is the key to holiness and sainthood. Holiness is, after all, simply living according to the order of our creation. Human is somehow more completely in the image and likeness of God; more so than any other part of God’s Creation. St. Paul says, “Behave as God, for you are God’s children.” What better compliment for parents than to be told that their children are so good, which is not a surprise, because their parents are so good and passed that goodness on to their children. So it is with God, Our Heavenly Father, and us—when we think as God thinks and do what God would have us do, we honor God’s divine parenting of us.
On the other hand, there are far too many examples of humanity falling drastically short of living God’s intended goodness and of participating in the unholy, the unthinkable, the total lack of good, which we call evil. This is because, in order to be fully created in God’s own image, we necessarily have to have free will—the ability to freely turn our backs on God’s will for the good. We call this sin. Interesting too is the fact that we humans, sometimes in an attempt to insult, will refer to each other as something less than human; e.g., “You’re stubborn as a mule” or “You’re cold as a fish.”
As we enter the time of ALL SAINTS/ALL SOULS then, let us remember to make regular our prayers for God’s mercy upon all the souls of the departed and for God’s grace and blessings upon our own journey to sainthood. Above all, may our humanity honor the Creator in such a way as to further, in any way that we can, God’s kingdom on earth “as it is in heaven.”