a note from Fr. Rick Nagel
March 28, 2013 at 1:58pm
“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7
Just 40 days until the Race for Vocations! In this holiest of weeks, we turn to contemplate how God is calling us each by name to be holy, just as He is holy. As we continue to pray for the increase of vocations to the priesthood, consecrated/religious life, sacred married life and sacred single life, one must first consider the Universal Call to Holiness and our first vocation through baptism of Charity! You are called to holiness, to be a saint, and to respond in your life through Charity…
Universal Call to Holiness
“Dear young people of America, your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church’s liturgy, bring you closer to God and also prepare you to serve others. The saints show us that the life of faith and hope is also a life of charity. Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 12). The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice?” Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Visit to America – April 2008
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 825 – 826
II. THE CHURCH IS HOLY
825 “The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect.”295 In her members perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired: “Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state – though each in his own way – are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect.”296
826 Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it “governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification.”297
If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all;it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT’S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE – IT’S ETERNAL! 298
296 LG 11, 3
298 St Theresa of Lisieux, Autobiography of a Saint
Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, wrote an amazing invitation to the faithful at the beginning of the year of faith this past October which merits our contemplation in this holy week. He encourages us to open wide the doors of our hearts so that we may encounter the living Christ and be transformed by Him into saints…
Questions to contemplate in prayer and while you train:
- Can you think of someone in your life who strives to be holy? What do you see in them that you would like to see in yourself?
- Have you decided, with God’s grace, to strive to be holy, to be a saint? Why or why not? What stands in your way to becoming holy/a saint?
- Who is one of your favorite saints who serves as a model for you in life?
- What are some good practices one should follow as a Catholic in the journey to holiness? Acts of Charity which God calls you to?
As we train for the race of life this week ahead, may we be transformed through prayer, sacraments and physical training. May we all strive for holiness/sainthood and act with charity in all we do!
With a Father’s Love,
Father Rick Nagel
Pastor, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church