Universal Call to Holiness

by Fr. Gabriel, O.P.

We all hear about the need to be holy. God tells us. The priest tells us. Mother Angelica tells us. Our Grandmother’s tell us. But what does it mean for each of us to have a personal vocation from God to be holy? Yes! Each of us. Essentially it has to do with our baptism.

Baptism turns us into something new. A baptized person is essentially different than an unbaptized person. Why? When you were baptized you were grafted onto the Mystical Body of Christ. Just like grafting in horticulture the new limb takes on some of the attributes of the plant to which it has been newly joined. We are joined to Christ. We begin to participate in his nature. We are divinized. In this identification with Christ we specifically participate in his role as priest, prophet, and king.

Our baptismal call is to live out these roles with gusto. Religious life is merely a radical intensification of what all Christians are called to do — how all Christians are called to live. Each of us are called by God on account of our baptism to live a life radically united to him. Look to how a Religious ought to live. That is how you ought to strive to live too. So, you have children and a job. Do what you can. It was said that the house St. Dominic grew up in was more like a Monestary than that of a minor noble and knight. Being a layman is no excuse for neglecting the more rigorous aspects of a radically lived Christian life.

Being baptized has consequences. Christ accepts no half measures. We are held to a higher standard because of the nature we participate in through baptism. His nature! This means all the baptized. Those who poorly live the Christian life, those who deny it, and those who try to live faithfully are all called to the radicality demanded by Christ. All are accountable to God for living that call or for squandering their life following worldly allurements. We too, those actively seeking holiness, must take care. We have an obligation to help all the baptized live this Christian radicality. We must take care that we do not place unnecessary obstacles in the path of those weaker or immature in their faith. We must not build up loads that we are unwilling to carry.

We must always remember that we are sinners. We are afflicted. None of use, myself included, live up to the life required by the Gospel. Therefore we must have mercy on each other. This does not mean we look the other way when a brother sins. On the contrary, we must hold him accountable. But, this accountability is for reconciliation. We are not so much interested in punishment. We are interested in getting people back on the right path. We want to build up not tear down. We are all in various stages of this life. We must try to help each other limp along the path. We must strive to help each other get to heaven. This is what it means to love one another as Christ has loved us.

Christian BE what you already ARE!