Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pope Benedict's 3 Steps to Holiness

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I've been thinking lately of Pope Benedict's recent guide to living a life of holiness. As usual the Pope's advice is simple and beautiful and hits at the heart of the matter-our goal in life. In his April 13th address he spoke of the goal of sainthood for everyone, and here were his "essentials" for holiness:


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"Essential is that no Sunday be left without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist -- this is not a burden but light for the whole week."

At first reading, I've gotta admit that I thought-"Hey at least I've got one down!" Of course, given even a little more thought the Sunday Mass where we encounter Christ in the Eucharist is life changing and grace giving every single time, as is every Mass. There is so much that the Mass gives us, but it is both the basis and pinnacle of Faith. The habit and gift of each Sunday centres our week, our spiritual routine, and then our whole lives. 

But in the eyes of someone completely unaware or removed from any faith the idea of every single week seems strange, unnecessary, and inconvenient. To gain faith and ultimately holiness requires even the smallest level of commitment; and going to Church once a week is the first step for sure.

Since having kids the importance of routine and order in one's life has become more than obvious to me. Children thrive on routine. As adults we still need need routine, and need for routine in the spiritual life is huge! A once-a-week encounter with Christ sounds like a perfect anchor. Making Sunday Mass a priority and habit in our busy lives opens the door to a relationship with Christ.


I know I've had a lot of Masses where I'm so distracted by kids to only pay attention to what feels like a few minutes, or I'm full of judgements towards the people in Mass my mind is so far away that I forget that it is "an encounter with Christ". 


"Never to begin or end a day without at least a brief contact with God."

When you think about the lives of the saints you could swear they're probably in constant communication with God. And they probably are/were! But you've gotta start somewhere, so starting the day with a simple prayer and ending it in prayer seems beautiful, simple, and connective. 

I'm an awful morning person. Theres always a baby up way before me making all kinds of noise. I usually wake up to soothe the starving little guys in a flurry of breakfast activity and then the day continues with hardly a moment of silence ever happens! But even if I can't get silence, or long periods of time I could give "at least a brief" moment to God in the morning.

I've also experienced times where praying at night is difficult. I think it stemmed from the day preceding involving my actions or choices that I didn't feel comfortable talking to God about. But falling short happens every day to every person, even saints. The ability to conquer discouragement by praying at night, whether for forgiveness or grace, must set a foundation for constant communication with God.


"And, in the journey of our life, to follow "road signs" that God has communicated to us in the Decalogue read with Christ, which is simply the definition of charity in specific situations."

I really love how the Holy Father puts this. Its sometimes hard to defend any sense of morality in today's society, and this description of following the Ten Commandments sums it up perfectly. We follow because it shows us how to use love in specific situations. The Commandments seem to get a bad wrap, usually they're too simple, but God gave them to us for a reason, and saints follow them still! This also shows how Benedict is speaking to people who don't have faith or aren't Catholic. I think he's always speaking to them, and I hope his words open more people to faith.

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I found these words so encouraging, "the true simplicity and grandeur of the life of holiness." Maybe if I can concentrate on these and I could make some serious headway. I love how the Pope's words are relatable and inspiring at the same time. 

3 comments:

  1. Christy, this was really helpful, not only the beautiful words of Benedict but also your reflections. The one about having a personal encounter with Christ in the Eucharist hit me the most, because I use being a mom to a toddler who likes to dash out of the pew (although we do our best to restrain him from this!) as my excuse why I don't concentrate at Mass... but every week I go to Mass on Tuesday by myself and STILL don't concentrate because I've trained myself NOT to. This is a good reminder for me to shape up!

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  2. Thanks guys-I pretty much blew all my intentions when we had to go to a mega-church in the city this weekend-I don't do Mass well when theres jumbo-trons in the church!

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