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By Carol Monaco Catholic Stand, July 30, AD2018
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him … to be holy and without blemish before him. [Ephesians 1:3-4]
To be holy and without blemish—sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Our call to be holy and clean without sin is impossible when we forget that “for God, all things are possible” [Matthew 19:26], including our holiness. Consider the Apostles—Christ sent them out and instructed them to take nothing for their journey to preach repentance. They were the first to represent Christ, to reflect Christ in what they said and did. Like us, they were ordinary and imperfect people.
These first disciples of Christ were also open to the living Word penetrating their minds, hearts, and souls. In other words, they had everything they needed for their mission. They were not bogged down with extra baggage and distractions, as we oftentimes are; God gives us everything we need for our mission so long as we are willing to accept it. Our Lord never stops offering Himself and His grace that saves us, according to Pope Francis.
The grace that saves us is the grace of the Holy Spirit that leads us on the path of holiness. We cannot perform miracles, but we can perform acts of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness as our Lord did. God gives us the means to accomplish great and wonderful acts to better our world, but we have to turn to our Lord and ask for guidance and strength.
To Better Ourselves
To improve our world, we have to better ourselves by turning away from sinful behavior because sin does destroy life. Unfortunately, we also live in a time when sin appears to be losing its meaning. Our actions are rationalized. We may think we are trying to accomplish something good but if we have to lie, mislead, manipulate, and cheat to reach a certain goal, what good are we accomplishing?
That is why our Lord calls on us to believe in the Gospel and repent. Yes, God is merciful. He does not want His children destroyed and He takes no pleasure in the death of sinners. He rather that we turn from our negative ways and set our sights on Heaven to live the lives God wants us to live. Repentance can do that for us—to help us start our lives anew with our Lord in the center to do with us as He wills.
Our Lord calls us to a holiness that starts and grows with small gestures, according to Pope Francis, by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves, whether in marriage, work, family, friendship, charity, etc. In the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we can live a faith-filled life, thereby making a sincere gift of self to others and humanity in a mission that is indeed possible.
Carol Monaco is the writer, editor, and publisher of “Journey to Our Lady,” a spiritual publication that helps readers develop a deeper understanding and closer relationship to our Blessed Mother. Carol also is a member of Association Jeanne Jugan, a Catholic lay organization that provides individuals with an opportunity to share in the spirituality of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Carol is a member of the World Apostolate of Fatima. Carol also enjoys photography!