Pope Francis on Wednesday told pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square that holiness is both a “gift” from God and a “journey” to which we must “commit” ourselves after we’ve received it.

The Holy Father delivered the remarks from the Apostolic Palace prior to a special recitation of the Angelus for the Nov. 1 solemnity of All Saints. The pope asked attendees to consider holiness in light of the feast day.

Holiness is “a gift, you can’t buy it,” Francis said. “And at the same time, it’s a journey. A gift and a journey.”

“Holiness is a gift of God, which we’ve received at baptism. And if we let it grow, it can completely change our lives,” he said.

The saints, the pope noted, “are not heroes who are unreachable or distant. They’re people like us, our friends, whose starting point is the same gift that we’ve received: baptism.”

“Holiness is a gift offered to everyone for a happy life,” the pope said. “After all, when we receive a gift, what’s our first reaction? It’s precisely that we’re happy, because it means that someone loves us. A gift of holiness makes us happy. It shows us how God loves us.”

But “every gift must be accepted, welcomed,” the pope said. And a gift “carries with it the responsibility of a response.” Holiness is “an invitation to commit ourselves,” Francis said, so that we do not squander the gift from God.