This year Pope Francis has dedicated the Year of Consecrated Life. I don't know if any of you have been made aware of this? Remember how last year he dedicated the year to The Joy of the Gospel? It makes a lot of sense to me because joy is the first fruit of a consecrated heart.
Each one of us are called to be consecrated to God, as the call to Holiness is a universal call. Today, more than ever we are reminded of the state of our world, and how there is a great need for our world to become holy. The world will be holy when countries are holy, and countries will be holy when people are holy. So let's be encouraged by the invitation to become holy and joyful men and women.
In his message for the year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis points out that it is through our lives that we point to the reality of God and that we can offer an alternative to the mirage of the various utopias that are presented by the world.
HOLINESS IS NOT SOMETHING WE CAN GET FOR OURSELVES, OR OBTAIN WITH OUR OWN TALENTS AND ABILITIES. Holiness is a gift from Jesus and we receive and rediscover holiness when we are in communion with God. Jesus desires that we come closer to Him so that He can make us holy.
Universal call to Holiness
Pope Francis also makes the point very clearly that consecrated life is not just reserved for a privileged few. To be consecrated is not only for the bishops, nuns, missionaries and priests. IT'S FOR EVERYONE. Being consecrated to God is a process of becoming holy; becoming more Godlike and striving to live out the values of the Gospel.
"Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification".(1Thes 4:3a) However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called "evangelical."(Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church; 39.)
Each of us are called to be holy. What Jesus wants the most is that we come close to His heart. To draw close to Him and to learn from Him how we can become holier. Many times we can think that holiness is only for those who have time to pray, those who can devote themselves to prayer all day. But it's not that way at all! Some people think that holiness is closing your eyes, bowing your head and putting on a really pious face. Holiness is something much greater and more profound than our external gestures.