Sanctification in Daily Work
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Faith Must Be Lived in Our Daily Lives

Pope BenedictIn his talks last week, Pope Benedict seriously stressed the importance of combating the “dictatorship of relativism” with a faith, grounded in truth and incorporated into every aspect of our lives. From his meeting with the Bishops:

Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel.

We live in a society that is increasingly divorcing itself from any semblance of faith. While we respect freedom of religion, we also want God out of school, the bedroom, the voting booth and so forth. We passively accept that “certain things ‘out there’ are true, but without practical relevance for everyday life (1).” The problem is affecting Catholics as well. How many Catholics attend Mass every Sunday only to go home and forget about Christ for the rest of the week, think that they can live as good and faithful Catholics privately while ignoring the Sacraments given to us by Christ or publicly profess to be Catholic while exhibiting behavior that is opposed to the faith that they proclaim (cohabitation, fornication, using contraception, supporting abortion rights etc…).

“No, my children! We cannot lead a double life. We cannot have a split personality if we want to be Christians. There is only one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is that life which has to become, in both body and soul, holy and filled with God.”
~St. Josemaria Escriva; Passionately Loving the World

True faith demands conversion! God wants all of us and wants to participate in every aspect of our lives. We are, every one of us, called to be SAINTS!

“You have the obligation to sanctify yourself. Yes, even you. Who thinks this is the exclusive concern of priests and religious? To everyone, without exception our Lord said: ‘Be perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt. 5:48)
~The Way 291

There are many things Catholics can do to incorporate faith into our daily lives. Personally I have found daily Mass and daily recitation of the rosary helpful, along with weekly holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament and frequent confession. It is also possible to lift up even the most ordinary daily tasks. Given a supernatural motive, an hour of work can become an hour of prayer. Fidelity to prayer and the Sacraments is essential.

Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all…

Your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church’s liturgy, bring you closer to God and also prepare you to serve others (2).

Equally as important is obedience to the law of Christ, His commandments and the teachings of His Church. Despite popular belief, this is the way to true and lasting freedom. Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in – a participation in Being itself (3). As today’s Gospel reading says:

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. (Jn. 15:10)

If Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and it is this truth which sets us free (Jn. 8:31-32), then authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God (3).

The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”.

Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32)…When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world (4).

I told you his speeches were jam packed!

Being Catholic is not merely a social identity, it’s not a question of what church (lower case “c”) you belong to or attend, but it is, as our Holy Father says, a question of conviction – do I really believe that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22)? Am I ready to commit my entire self – intellect and will, mind and heart – to God? Do I accept the truth Christ reveals? Is my faith evident in the way I live my life? Do I give it fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, through prayer, acts of charity, a concern for justice, and respect for God’s creation? (3)

(1) Responses to questions posed by the Bishops
(2) Youth rally speech in Yonkers
(3) Meeting with Catholic educators
(4) Homily at Yankee Stadium

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