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Actually, this is a message to all churches whatever language they speak. It is an adaptation of the message read to the church in Corinth  and read again in our day on a recent Thursday in “Ordinary” Time.

Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
to the Church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.

I rediscovered a modern version of this message by accident. I was preparing to preach on  a recent Thursday in “Ordinary” Time . I offer it as another one in the occasional series “Friday’s With Francis.”

In effect it can be seen as Pope Francis unpacking the thought of Paul  on those who are “called to be holy.”

Holiness in God’s People

I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: 

… in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant.”

“Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbors, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”…

“These witnesses may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5). Their lives may not always have been perfect, yet even amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord…”

“The important thing is that each believer discerns his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.”

Holiness grows through small gestures

This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures.

 “Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbor and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness.”

“Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness.”

“Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness.”

“Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step…”

Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details...

  • The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
  • The little detail that one sheep was missing.
  • The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
  • The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
  • The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
  • The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak.

I encourage everyone to read the full text.

Recognizing our holiness

  • How many of these little things can you relate to?
  • Can you make the connection with what Pope Francis calls “ordinary holiness?”

Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk.

Ordinary Holiness
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