In his weekly general audience address, Pope Francis said that holiness can never be selfish, but is a gift that must be put into practice through daily witness and attentiveness to the needs of others. “Growing in holiness thus means becoming better persons, free of selfishness and self-absorption, and ever ready to place ourselves at the service of our brothers and sisters in the Church,” the Pope told pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square for his Nov. 19 general audience address. In his continued catechesis on the Church, the Roman Pontiff turned his reflections to universal call to holiness, which is “a vocation” for every person. Each member of the Church shares this vocation thanks to their baptism, he observed, saying that within this call to holiness is the call to be a saint. “What does this vocation consist of and how can we achieve it?” the Pope asked. He explained that holiness is not something we “obtain by our own capacities or personal qualities,” but is rather a gift from God and his son Jesus Christ. He alluded to the words of St. Paul, who tells us that Christ loved the Church and gave his life for her in order to make her holy. “Therefore, holiness is discovered in full communion with him, in the fullness of his life and love,” he continued, noting how this holiness must then be lived out by each person in the activities and responsibilities of their daily life. Pope Francis then drew attention to the First Letter of St. Peter in which the apostle asks each person to be good administers of the grace they have received by putting it at the service of others, and encouraged those present to ask themselves how well they have responded to this call. “By asking us to become holy in our daily lives, Christ is inviting us to experience in all things his own deep joy and to become a gift of love to all around us,” he said, adding that the call to holiness is “not a heavy burden, but rather an invitation to live each moment of our life with joy and love.” Each step we take toward holiness makes us better people, frees us from selfishness and allows us to open our hearts to the needs of our brothers and sisters, the Pope explained. He prayed that all would welcome the invitation to holiness with joy and “support each other on this path that is not walked alone, but in communion with that one body which is the Church, our hierarchical Holy Mother.”
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