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Ave Maria Meditations

The universal call to holiness 

All Sacred Scripture is a calling to holiness, to the fullness of charity, but Jesus makes it quite explicit in the Gospel: You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  And Christ is not addressing his words to the Apostles or to just a few of his followers, but to everyone. Saint Matthew makes the point at the conclusion of these discourses that the crowds were astonished at his teaching.  Jesus does not demand sanctity of an exclusive coterie of disciples who accompany him everywhere, but of all who approach him: the multitudes, among whom were mothers of families, laborers, and skilled craftsmen who would stop to hear him after work, children, tax-collectors, beggars and cripples … The Lord calls people to follow him without distinction of state, race or condition.  

Christ speaks to us, to each one in particular, to our neighbors, coworkers or friends in the office or in the Faculty and to those who pass us and each other in the street: Be perfect … he says, and grants us the means and the appropriate graces that will make perfection possible. This is not just advice from the master, but an imperative command. All in the Church, whether they belong to the Hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness, according to the Apostle’s saying: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification’ (l Thes 4:3).  

All Christians, in any state or walk of life, are called to the full­ness of Christian life and to the perfection of love.In the doctrine of Christ there is no invitation to mediocrity, but a clear call to heroism, to love and to cheerful sacrifice.  

Love is within reach of the child, of the invalid who has been confined to a hospital bed for a lengthy period, of the businessman, of the doctor who hardly has a minute to spare, because sanctity is a matter of love, and of the effort we make to reach the Master with the help of grace. We have to give a new meaning to life, together with all its joys and exhilarations, its pains and woes. Sanctity requires a fight against conformity, against lukewarmness, against an easy-going worldly attitude. It demands heroism – not in extraordinary situations that we ‘are unlikely to encounter, but in continual fidelity to our task in the unremarkable duties of each day.  

Today we implore this of God: Lord, grant us a lively desire for sanctity, that we may be exemplary in our duty of loving you more each day. Help us to spread your doctrine every­where. Our Lord is not happy with a lukewarm life and a half-hearted dedication.  Let us ask the Blessed Virgin for an effective zeal for sanctity in the circumstances in which we find ourselves now…let us not wait. 

Fr. Francis Fernandez

Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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