Project Description

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), which he released earlier this year, in which he wrote about the need to strive for holiness in everyday life.  This week I’d like to highlight a list of “tips for holiness” that he included in the same document, tips which we can put into practice right away.  He calls them “signs of holiness in today’s world”, but they’re qualities that any of us can work on:

 

  • Patience, Perseverance and Meekness:  The Pope says that holiness requires inner strength, both to be patient and constant in doing good and to avoid being swept up by the parts of our culture that lead us away from Christ.  Some of the ways he suggests that we cultivate these virtues include recognizing and combatting our selfish inclinations; not getting caught up in the violent and hateful speech we hear in the public square; not complaining about the faults of others; and doing good to others, especially those who appeal to us the least.
  • Joy and a Sense of Humor:  The Pope says that true saints are usually joyful and full of good humor.  Joy is a sign that we are grateful to God and aware of His many gifts.  It’s also essential for evangelizing – joy goes a long way in attracting people to Christ.
  • Boldness and Passion:  By boldness, the Pope isn’t asking us to be brash or reckless.  He’s simply telling us to “be not afraid”, as Jesus said so many times.  Complacency can keep us from growing in faith, and fear can keep us from sharing that faith with others.
  • In Community:  The Pope suggests that having the support of fellow Christians can help us grow in faith and fight temptation to sin.  There are many factors at work in our culture that isolate people more than in the past, so it is important that each of us intentionally fosters some Christian community in our lives.
  • In Constant Prayer:  Pope Francis says that “holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent.”  It may seem obvious, but quiet time alone with the Lord each day is essential in developing all of the other qualities that he lists.

 

I always appreciate simple and practical tips to growth in holiness, so I hope you find some of the Pope’s suggestions helpful in your own spiritual growth.  And just remember that the ultimate work in this kind of growth belongs to God; if we put in the time each day to build these good habits, it is God who will bless them and make them bear fruit.