Today, the theme, “More Alive, More Human.” Billy Joel sang of the flip side of virtue. I’d side with the pope instead of an otherwise, fine songwriter. Pope Francis suggests we are made for sanctity and we find our truest, deepest calling and our greatest happiness in following that impulse.
32. Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when he created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognize our great dignity. We see this in Saint Josephine Bakhita: “Abducted and sold into slavery at the tender age of seven, she suffered much at the hands of cruel masters. But she came to understand the profound truth that God, and not man, is the true Master of every human being, of every human life. This experience became a source of great wisdom for this humble daughter of Africa”.[John Paul II, Homily at the Mass of Canonization]
It’s about more than having fun in one’s life. There is a greater view; namely, bearing fruit in the world. That shouldn’t be a lonely affair; we should have reliance on others in the order of baptized persons on whom to lean:
33. To the extent that each Christian grows in holiness, he or she will bear greater fruit for our world. The bishops of West Africa have observed that “we are being called in the spirit of the New Evangelization to be evangelized and to evangelize through the empowering of all you, the baptized, to take up your roles as salt of the earth and light of the world wherever you find yourselves”.[Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa, Pastoral Message at the End of the Second Plenary Assembly, 29 February 2016, 2]
34. Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint”.[La femme pauvre, Paris, II, 27]
Holiness as an encounter between human weakness and God’s grace: I admit I have not seen that definition. What do you readers make of it?