Pope: The Saints Show Us That Holiness Is Possible for Everyone
‘May the Lord give us the hope of being holy!’ he encouraged at his June 21 audience.
VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis said the saints show us that holiness is possible for everyone, and we should call on them for help in living out our vocations.
Some of us may be tempted to question if it is really possible to be holy in everyday life, the Pope said, but “yes, you can,” he encouraged, adding that doesn’t mean you have to pray all day.
“No, no. It means you have to do your duty all day long,” he said June 21. “Pray; go to work; watch over the children. But everything must be done with a heart open to God, in a way that the work, even in illness and in suffering, also in difficulty, is open to God. And so you can become saints.”
“You can!” he continued. “May the Lord give us the hope of being holy! It is possible to be holy because the Lord helps us; it is he who helps us.”
In his catechesis at the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about the hope offered to us by the saints and how we call on them as a Church in the liturgy and in our lives to help us become saints ourselves.
For example, we call on them in the liturgy for the sacrament of matrimony, he said.
“Those who really love have the desire and courage to say ‘forever,’ but they know that they need the grace of God and the help of the saints to be able to live the marriage forever.”
“Not, like some say, ‘as long as love lasts.’ No — forever! Otherwise, it’s better not to marry: either forever or nothing.”
He explained how we also call on the saints in the Mass of ordination. Candidates for the priesthood lie on the floor, with their faces against the ground, while the assembly, led by the bishop, invokes the intercession of the saints.
“A man would be crushed under the weight of the mission entrusted to him” in the priesthood, the Pope said, “but feeling that all heaven is behind him, that the grace of God will not fail because Jesus remains faithful, then he can go [into his vocation] serene and refreshed. We are not alone.”
Because we have the example of the saints, we have hope that it is possible to live a holy life, he stressed. “Christianity cultivates an ingrained trust: It does not believe that negative and disgusting forces can prevail. The last word on man's history is not hatred; it is not death; it is not war.”
The existence of the saints tells us “first of all that the Christian life is not an unreachable ideal,” he said.
Thus, we are comforted knowing that “the Church is made of innumerable brothers, often anonymous, who have preceded us and who, through the action of the Holy Spirit, are involved in the affairs of those who still live here.”
We call on the saints in the Mass, the Pope reminded, but we must also have the courage to call on them ourselves in difficult moments, thinking of all those who have gone through trials before us, yet have persevered in sanctity.
God never abandons us, often helping us through human hands and hearts and through the saints, who are hidden but still “in our midst,” he said.
“This is difficult to understand and also to imagine, but the saints are always present in our life. When anyone invokes the saints, they are near to us,” he emphasized.
We must remember that the mystery of grace that is present in the lives of Christians is powerful. “We are dust that aspires to heaven,” Francis said.
“We are faithful to this earth, which Jesus loved at every moment of his life, but we know and want to hope for the transfiguration of the world in its final fulfillment, where there will finally be no more tears, malice and suffering.”
Our holiness is the great gift that each of us can offer the world, Francis went on. “Let the Lord give us the grace of believing so deeply in him that we may become Christ’s image for this world.”
Our world needs saints, he concluded: “Without these men and women, the world would have no hope.”