The Essence of HolinessI would like to analyze today the first part of Chapter III of the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate ("Rejoice and Exult"), which talks about the essence of holiness, about what it takes to become saints. Pope Francis points out the way: to do, each in his own way, what Jesus said in the sermon of the Beatitudes.
"The word 'happy' or 'blessed' becomes synonymous with 'holy', because it expresses that a person faithful to God and living his Word attains, in the gift of himself, true happiness."As St. Francis de Sales says, love is the fundamental law of the world. We must do everything for love, to love and through love. The opposite of love is selfishness. Every human being is born selfish by inheritance of original sin. So the work of our life must be to kill selfishness in us and to learn to truly love, giving ourselves totally to God and to our neighbor. This is what holiness consists of. The Pope analyzes one by one of the eight beatitudes expressed in the Gospel of St. Matthew (Mt 5: 3-12). Here we will present only a few thoughts of some of them, to stimulate the reader to a real change of life, responding with attitude to the infinite love of the Father for each one of us. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven": Riches give no security, and when the heart feels rich, there is no room for the things of God. This poverty of spirit is intimately linked to the "holy indifference" proposed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, that is, to accept with love what God sends, be it health or illness, wealth or poverty, peace or turbulence. To be poor in heart: This is holiness. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth": If we live tense, arrogant before others, we end up tired and exhausted. The correct thing is to look at the faults and limits of others, with tenderness and meekness, without feeling superior. One saint teaches that I should look at another's attitude and think: "If I had had the same education, suffered the same traumas, lived the same experiences of this person, I would probably behave much worse." Thinking in this way keeps us humble and grateful to God for all we are and have and impels us to reach out to help the other, avoiding to waste our energies with useless lamentations. Reacting with humble meekness: This is holiness. "Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted": The world does not want to weep, it preaches the ideology of "escape from pain and seek pleasure", it prefers to ignore painful situations, to hide them. Those who see things as they really are and weep in their hearts, are able to reach the depths of life and be authentically happy. This person is comforted by the consolation of Jesus. In this way you can have the courage to share the suffering of others and discover that life has meaning when helping the other in their affliction. To know how to weep with others: This is holiness. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God": we are often the cause of conflict and misunderstanding. The world of murmuring and gossip, made by people who criticize and destroy, does not build peace. Peaceful people are sources of peace, they build peace and social friendship. And in our community, if we ever have doubts about what to do, "let us earnestly seek all things that contribute to peace" (Rom 14:19) because unity is superior to conflict. It is not easy to build this evangelical peace that excludes no one; but includes even those who are a little strange, difficult and complicated people, those who demand attention, those who are different, those who cultivate other interests. This requires a great openness of mind and heart. Building peace is an art that requires serenity, creativity, sensitivity and dexterity. To sow peace around us: This is holiness.
Copyright 2018 Flávia Ghelardi
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.