By Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S.
Have you ever taken a walk in the evening after a heavy snowfall? The sounds of the city are muffled, there is a hush over creation as the snow blankets the earth. The rhythm of the crunch of the snow underfoot draws you into a place of quiet contemplation. The distractions that normally occupy your mind are quiet and you simply take in the beauty of God’s creative hand. You stand in awe of the mystery of God who created all things in love, God who knows you by name.
Then in the silence, the passage from the Book of Leviticus comes to mind, “You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy” Lv 19: 2.
Taking time to listen for the voice of the Lord is an essential part of discerning your vocation as well as remaining faithful in living out your vocation. All of us are called to holiness, to be a saint! Our founder, St. Gaspar, would often close a letter he was writing with the encouragement, “and let us become saints.” What does this mean? The Compendium of the Catechism states, “Holiness is the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity.” It is a call to love as God loves us. Not in extraordinary ways, but in the day-in and day-out ordinary rhythm of life, like responding patiently to a request for help, living in moderation, remaining strong in temptation, or giving thanks for an act of kindness.
Living our vocational call to holiness means making use of the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. What is a virtue? The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines virtue as “a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows a person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.” The virtue of faith can be looked upon as the light of Christ guiding each of us in truth. Hope is the anchor that steadies a person in the midst of the challenges in life. Charity impels each of us to love unconditionally in response to crying need.
Along with the theological virtues there are numerous moral virtues such as prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, humility, perseverance, piety and gratitude, just to name a few. By putting these virtues into practice, we grow in holiness and give witness to our baptismal call to keep the flame of faith burning brightly in our lives.
January is often a time of making resolutions or becoming aware of the blank slate we are given in a new year. Which of the moral virtues would you like to work on this year on your path to holiness? All of us have rough edges to work on spiritually and our constant pursuit of holiness may lead others to walk a similar path. In this new year, are you willing to encourage a young person striving for holiness to consider a vocation as a Missionary of the Precious Blood? Helping others to identify their vocational call to holiness may be the nudge they need to work at becoming a saint, a step that can lead them to a fuller life in Christ.
Fr. Angelo is the director of vocations for the United States Province.