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Either holiness or nothing!

By Susan Gately - 02 November, 2018

What do the Saints do up in heaven, Pope Francis asked pilgrims at St Peter’s Square yesterday, gathered for the midday Angelus on the Feast of All Saints. “They sing together; praise God with joy. It would be lovely to hear their song … but we can imagine it.”

Singing “Holy” during the Mass, not only do we think of the Saints but we do what they do. In that moment of the Mass, we are united to them more than ever. And we are united to all the Saints — not only to those most noted in the calendar, but also to those “from next door” – to our relatives and acquaintances, who now form part of that great multitude, he continued.

Today, then, is a family feast, said the pontiff. “The Saints are close to us, rather, they are our truest brothers and sisters. They understand us, they love us, they know what our true good is; they help us and wait for us. They are happy and want us to be happy with them in Paradise. Therefore, they invite us to [follow] the way of happiness, indicated in today’s Gospel, so beautiful and known: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit … Blessed are the meek … Blessed are the pure in heart’ (Cf. Matthew 5:3–8).

“Why does the Gospel say ‘Blessed are the poor’ when the world says ‘Blessed are the rich’, why does it say ‘Blessed are the meek’ when the world says ‘Blessed are the arrogant’?” he asked. “This way of blessedness, of holiness, seems to lead to defeat.”  Yet, he continued, the “Saints have won, not the world. And they exhort us to choose their side, that of God who is Holy.

“Let us ask ourselves what side we are on: that of Heaven or that of earth?” continued the Pope. “Do we live for the Lord or for ourselves, for eternal happiness or for some contentment now? Let us ask ourselves: do we truly want holiness or are we content to be Christians without infamy and without praise, who believe in God and esteem their neighbour but ‘without exaggerating’?”

The Lord asks for everything, but offers true life, the happiness for which we were created, said Pope Francis. “In short, either holiness or nothing! It does us good to let the Saints challenge us.” They didn’t have “half measures” and they “cheer for us” when we choose “God, humility, meekness, mercy, purity, because we are passionate about Heaven rather than the earth”.

Our brother and sister Saints ask us to put the Gospel into practice, said Pope Francis, to undertake the “way of the Beatitudes. It’s not about doing extraordinary things, but about following every day this way that leads us to Heaven, that leads us as a family, that leads us home”.

Meanwhile, speaking at the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops on young people, Bishop Anthony Muheria from Kenya stressed the importance of holiness for the young. “Beyond what is measurable, [the young people can have] great dreams of holiness, a topic that has been constantly present in the hall of this synod. That means engaging young people, connecting them to the work of grace. Sometimes we [bishops] are prone to think about activities and forget who is the author – connecting them with Christ, that they can touch God.”

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