Little acts of love, kindness and faith add up to holiness, pope says

From Pope Francis:

All Christians are called to holiness and to take even little steps each day to be more loving and more Christ-like, Pope Francis said.

“Some think that holiness is closing your eyes and making the face of a plastic statue, but that’s not holiness,” the pope said Nov. 19 at his weekly general audience.

Holiness is something much greater, much more profound than looking like an image on a holy card, he said. “It is living with love and offering your own Christian witness in your daily tasks.”

Pope Francis said “a great gift” of the Second Vatican Council was the recovery of the notion of “the church as communion,” a community formed by people who “have equal dignity and have the same vocation to holiness” by virtue of their baptism.

“To be saints, one does not necessarily have to be a bishop, priest or religious, no,” he said. “We are all called to become saints.”

“Many times we are tempted to think that holiness is reserved only for those who have the possibility of detaching themselves from ordinary concerns so they can dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer,” he said. “But that’s not true.”

Holiness, the pope said, is a gift God offers to everyone and a response to his grace. It is the result of hundreds of little steps and gestures each day. And they will be different for each person depending on the circumstances of one’s life.

Consecrated men and women become saints by living their vows with joy, he said. Married people become saints by loving and taking care of their husband or wife. Single Catholics become saints “doing their work with honesty and competence, and offering their time to serve their brothers and sisters.”

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