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Pope: Holiness isn’t just effort and self-denial; it’s a discovery

Franciszek znów to zrobił. Tym razem zadzwonił do zbieracza śmieci

CPP / Polaris/East News

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 11/01/21

Holiness isn't a "human achievement," the Pope said, but is "a gift we receive."

Pope Francis offered a reflection on one of his favorite Gospel passages for the Feast of All Saints on November 1, the Beatitudes.

Drawing from the readings of the day, the Pope spoke about joy and prophecy.

Regarding joy, Francis noted how the Beatitudes begin with the word “blessed”: “It is the principal proclamation, that of an unprecedented happiness.

He continued:

Beatitude, holiness, is not a life plan made up only of effort and renunciation, but is above all the joyful discovery of being God’s beloved sons and daughters. And this fills you with joy.

Holiness isn’t a “human achievement,” the Pope said, but is “a gift we receive.”

We are holy because God, who is the Holy One, comes to dwell in our lives. It is He who gives holiness to us. For this we are blessed!

This means that Christian joy isn’t a “fleeting emotion” or mere optimism.

Instead, he said, it is “the certainty of being able to face every situation under God’s loving gaze, with the courage and strength that come from Him.”

The saints, even in the midst of many tribulations, have experienced this joy and have borne witness to it.

Getting sick with sadness

Pope Francis added a warning that without joy, “faith becomes a rigorous and oppressive exercise” and it can become sick with sadness.

Let us consider this word: ailing with sadness. A desert Father said that sadness is “a worm that burrows into the heart,” which corrodes life (cf. EVAGRIUS PONTICUS, The Eight Spirits of Evil, XI).

The Pope suggested a mini self-evaluation:

Let us ask ourselves this: are we joyful Christians? Am I a joyful Christian or not? Do we spread joy or are we dull, sad people, with a funeral face? Remember that there is no holiness without joy!

Pope Francis
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