In those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.I think -- yeah, that’s me! (Well, usually ... I do love my children with immense love!) I have potential to be holy, too. He goes on to say, that I can be holy in my own unique way. What was most inspiring to me, developing this idea of “Next Door Holiness,” was what he says in the following section, "The Lord calls." The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them. We are all called to be witnesses, but there are many actual ways of bearing witness. (Paragraph 11) I have spent the last few years of my way-past-midlife life deciding what I’d like to be when I grow up. I know I want to be a mother (I already have 10 kids--that’s a given), but what kind of mother, and with what gifts? I think I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to copy everyone else, instead of looking to my own God-given personal gifts. Pope Francis tells us that these testimonies from people considered holy may “prove helpful and inspiring, but that we are not meant to copy, for that could even lead us astray from the one specific path that the Lord has in mind for us.” This has been my journey for the last few years as I have been prayerfully discerning how God wants to use me. Discovering these gifts and traits are part of my journey to holiness. Sometimes I’ve wanted to trade in my gifts for something different, for something that someone else has. When I feel discouraged in this way, I have to remind myself, that my heavenly Father knows what’s best for me and loves me very much.
This should excite and encourage us to give our all and to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us from eternity: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jer 1:5). (Paragraph 13)So sisters in Christ, embrace who you are and find your path to holiness in it. And finally, I’d like to end with this practical example of daily living holiness that Pope Francis gives. This is the way to be that “Next Door Saint.”
This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbour and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step. (Paragraph 16)I hope this will encourage you to look up the Apostolic letter yourself (it's free online) and dive in. Maybe there’s something in there that God is specifically saying to you.
Copyright 2018 Tami Kiser
About the Author
Tami Kiser is a wife, mother, teacher, author, and speaker. She runs a video production studio featuring Catholic speakers. These can be purchased or viewed on Formed. She also is the co-owner and host of a new Catholic Retreat and Cultural Center in the Carolina Mountains called Heart Ridge. She has taught everything from NFP, Zumba, cleaning toilets, Catholic crafting, the hula, bullet journaling, tap dancing, and liturgical living to Saxon Math 54 for the 10th time.