The Universal Call to Holiness

 

There is a common notion among Catholics about the spiritual life that goes something like this: "There are two kinds of Catholics - 'saints' and 'normal Catholics.' I couldn't possibly be a saint. I don't need to do anything special; I just need to be a nice person, a 'normal Catholic,' and I will be doing the best I can."

 

Here's the thing: it isn't true! In actuality, everyone - every human being - was made by God to be a saint. There is no such thing as a normal Catholic who is neither a saint nor on track to become one. Maybe you can't accomplish this on your own, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, God is longing to make you a saint! He is patiently waiting for you to ask for his help.

 

What does it mean to be a saint? The word comes from the Latin word sanctus, meaning "holy." To be a saint is to be holy. Specifically, to be a saint is to be in union with God in heaven. God made every human being with the intention that they would be with him in heaven one day. But he gives all of us a choice in the matter: he doesn't force anyone to be with him against his will. That's why hell exists. "God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1037) For God "[does not will] that any should perish, but that all should return to penance." (2 Pet 3: 9) Or, as C. S. Lewis put it in his book The Great Divorce, "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says... 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell, choose it."

This doesn't mean, however, that you need to be the next St. Teresa of Calcutta, or another St. Francis of Assisi or St. Thomas Aquinas. God didn't make you to be another version of someone else: he made you to be you. He created you with a particular, unique calling, or vocation. Discerning and living your vocation is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of life on earth. It can be a challenge, but it is also a source of profound joy and fulfillment.

 

Every human being was created by God for union with him. Moving toward perfect union with God is what the spiritual life is all about. In fact, it is what life is all about, period. If this is not the ultimate goal of your life, then maybe it is time for something to change!

 

We would like to challenge you, if you aren't already, to learn about who God is and to get to know him through communal worship and private prayer. If you seek him earnestly, he will not disappoint you. Once you have taken this step, we hope you will seriously consider directing your life toward him and answering the universal call to holiness, as well as starting the exciting journey of discerning and living your special vocation. We want to help you on this journey if we can. If you have any questions about what is happening in your spiritual life or would like guidance in this process, please feel free to call the parish office at (301) 373-2281 to make an appointment to meet with the pastor or talk to a member of the pastoral staff. May God bless you abundantly!

 

"[T]he laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit - indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born - all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives." (CCC #901)