GeE 21-22: God’s Plan For Holiness

See the source imageMore on the disciple’s mission in Christ: God has a plan; we are drawn into it, and many witnesses have testified, including our pope emeritus:

21. The Father’s plan is Christ, and ourselves in him. In the end, it is Christ who loves in us, for “holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full”. [Benedict XVI, Catechesis, General Audience of 13 April 2011] As a result, “the measure of our holiness stems from the stature that Christ achieves in us, to the extent that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we model our whole life on his”. [Ibid.] Every saint is a message which the Holy Spirit takes from the riches of Jesus Christ and gives to his people.

This is deeply wise and balanced, and worth a substantial reflection. Pope Benedict is careful to observe that the action of Christ is what raises us into sanctity. What is our role? At every opportunity, we ask ourselves, how do I align my life with that of Jesus? If we don’t know, we ask. If we don’t hear, we listen more intently. If we’re not sure, we trust we are. If we feel lost, we go on a search. We cultivate an attitude of wanting to model our life. Thomas Merton prayed it well, “I hope that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you.”

22. To recognize the word that the Lord wishes to speak to us through one of his saints, we do not need to get caught up in details, for there we might also encounter mistakes and failures.

In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. We look to the larger vector in a saint’s life, not the particulars:

Not everything a saint says is completely faithful to the Gospel; not everything he or she does is authentic or perfect. What we need to contemplate is the totality of their life, their entire journey of growth in holiness, the reflection of Jesus Christ that emerges when we grasp their overall meaning as a person. [Cf. Hans urs von Balthasar, “Theology and Holiness”, in Communio 14/4 (1987), 341-350]

This is also extremely wise. Each of us is a unique individual project in God’s plan. Our part will be distinctive. Walls, floors, and furniture may all be made of wood, but have different functions in a house. Piano strings, flutes, and trumpets are all metal, but contribute to an orchestra in a different way.

You can check the full document Gaudete et Exsultate on the Vatican website.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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