WHAT IS HOLINESS ACCORDING TO THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? WHAT IS ITS TEACHING ON THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS?
Perhaps you may have known by now that all of us are called to holiness, each according to the particular vocation to which God calls him or her. The fact that all of us are called to holiness, strongly based on the Sacred Scriptures, has been forgotten for centuries, until God chose St. Josemaria in 1928 to remind and proclaim the universal vocation to holiness, including the laity, that is, men and women from all walks of life, living in the middle of the world.
The doctrine on the universal vocation to holiness was then later incorporated in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and from thereon, in many documents of the Church Magisterium.
But, what is holiness? Holiness is the plenitude of Christian life, the fullness of charity and of our condition as God’s children. It is nothing but the work of God’s grace in us and our correspondence to it to identify ourselves with His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, living in, with, and for Him. Holiness consists in identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ and involves the struggle to think, feel, want, act and live like Christ did, with the help of God’s grace. Holiness necessarily involves imitating and living the virtues Jesus Christ lived and taught during his life on earth, as well as the Beatitudes He taught at the Sermon of the Mount. All these cannot be possible without the help of God’s graces we receive in prayer, sacraments and daily struggle or spiritual battle to live the virtues and renounce sin out of love for God and of our neighbor. In short, holiness consists in being “other Christs, Christ himself” (alter Christus, ipse Christus) as St. Josemaria put it. To this all Christians are called, whatever state of life they may have: young, old, single, married, lay persons, clerics and religious.
Below you have a brief summary of the points on holiness found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which all Catholics should know.
POINTS OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE UNIVERSAL VOCATION TO CHRISTIAN HOLINESS
TO REFLECT ON OUR PERSONAL PRAYER:
2012 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
2013 “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ’s gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.
2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called “mystical” because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments – “the holy mysteries” – and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.
2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes: He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.
2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus. Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the “blessed hope” of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the “holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
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