HOLINESS THROUGH MARY
The finest sermon ever preached was delivered by God, in Person, as He sat on the slopes of a mountain over 2000 years ago: “Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill.”
Christ was challenging the world. Speaking to a group of ordinary, illiterate country people, He told them that their vocation in life was to aspire after the holiness of God Himself. “You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect… Lay up treasure for yourselves in Heaven… Make it your first care to find the Kingdom of God and His approval… Make your way in by the narrow gate.” Little wonder that St Paul, a few years later, could tell the people of Thessalonica: “What God asks of you is that you should sanctify yourselves.”
Christ lived and taught on this earth to sanctify souls. That was the reason He established His Church. He intended all men to be saints. There is not one kind of Christianity for priests, monks and nuns, and another for people living in the world. To all, St Peter addresses these words: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for Himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God Who has called you out of the darkness into His marvellous light.”
Every Christian, in virtue of the fact that he is a Christian, is bound to seek after holiness. Monks and nuns bind themselves by vows to help them in their quest, but the vows do not make the obligation: they simply reinforce and emphasise it. The destination of the Christian life is perfection for all. In every Age of the Church, there have been saints in the world as well as in the cloister. [to be continued]
– Excerpts from Holiness Through Mary by Fr Francis Ripley, copied from a pamphlet by the Universal Rosary Association. For the Association’s contact details, please click here.