Holiness: To live as Jesus did
Sem. Resty Manansala Castillo
Before entering the Eudist community I worked as a Human Resource Manager and there were many of the young people whom I interviewed were very goal-oriented. They really work hard to achieve their goals. And now as a theology student at Loyola School of Theology in Ateneo de Manila, I can see how many students are also goal-oriented in preparation for the priesthood. Indeed, many of us are goal-oriented. We want to be successful, to be the best we can be. There is nothing wrong with having goals; in fact, they help us to clearly prepare for the future. The Solemnity of All Saints, a great feast we celebrate today, reminds us of another kind of goal for which each of us should strive. This is the goal to conform our lives to Christ in living his life and becoming saints.
Saints are holy people who lived well the life of Christ and have done great things in witnessing to the Gospel. Some of us might be thinking that it is impossible to become saints, that only few can achieve this. Holiness is not reserved for just a few Christians. The holy men and women pictured in the stained glass windows or statues around our parish church come from every way of life, from the rich to the poor. They have also experienced imperfections and sinfulness in life. However they encountered the Christ who healed their imperfections and they strived to live a life of holiness. Saints are heroes of faith because they have given us examples of how to be brave and happy even in difficult moments. We call all saints heroes of faith, and indeed, heroes may be saints, but not all saints need be extraordinary heroes. On the contrary, more often than not, these people are much more ordinary people like you and me. Yes, many saints have been reported to have done great things, but can you think of a greater goal than to have lived the gospel message in spirit and in truth? This is our goal to become saints. Holiness is expected of you and me because it is our ultimate vocation by virtue of our baptism.
The gospel today gives us the guide for the path to holiness. If you use things in their proper perspective, then you are blessed because you are poor in spirit. If you respond with patience, gentleness and kindness instead of easily loosing your temper or becoming upset, then you are blessed. If you hunger and thirst for what is just and right, if you respond honestly and sincerely when other are being wronged, when you know something to be unjust, then you are blessed. Jesus also said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” That means you are blessed if you forgive those who offend or humiliate you. If you are pure of heart and a person of integrity, if you speak honestly without deceit, then you are blessed. If you always work for peace around you and help in reconciling the differences between others or the differences between another and yourself, then you are blessed. You are blessed if you experience persecution for standing up for what you as Christian believe, even if it entails rejection and death. Jesus has given us the way to holiness or being blessed through the beatitudes.
Countless Christians have shown that it is possible to walk the way leading to holiness. The Church venerates these saints as models of faith who give us an example of how to live Christ in our lives. But they are also saints who serve as powerful intercessors on our behalf. Think of all those times we have been asked to pray for someone who is sick or in a difficult situation. It means a great deal to that person to know that we are praying to God for them. It is also that way with the saints whom we invoke to pray to God for us and for others. These holy men and women cannot help but be a powerful intercessor on our behalf. In the Book of Revelation, there is a vision of all saints in heaven. They are presented as standing before the throne of the Lamb wears white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. If we can intercede for one another here on earth surely the saints can do so for us in heaven.
The feast of All Saints reminds us to look again at the Beatitudes. We ask ourselves whether our lives are really set on the goal which in the end is all that really matters: holiness in this life and union with God forever in the next. Let us ask for the grace of humility and a great love for God and our neighbors so that we may able to imitate the great saints of God in heaven. As the old prayer called Anima Christi says; “and when the call of death arrives, bid me come to Thee, that I may praise Thee with Thy saints forever.” We too can come to heaven in the company of our saintly friends.
All you men and women of God, pray for us!
Main source: eudistsphilippines.com
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