The Church offers us today the life of someone salvation history has determined to be a significant figure in the proclamation of the Gospel. Pope Saint Leo the Great, a doctor of the Church helped the Church of his era develop orthodox thinking on the person of Jesus Christ that is standard theology today. He defended the two natures of Jesus Christ at the Council of Chalcedon. The Fathers of Chalcedon said, “Peter has spoken through Leo!”
The Pope advocated knowing the lives of the saints as a way of coming to know Christ, and to know how to live one’s baptism. This video of Saint Josemaría Escrivá gives an excellent introduction to the life of a 20th century saint and founder of the lay movement of Opus Dei.
Saint Charles Borromeo’s intercession is as much needed today as ever we needed it. He was an unexpected gift of God to his family and to the Church and we ask him to intercede for us. Some interesting points about the legacy of Saint Charles Borromeo, whose feast we celebrate today.
Today is the day since the time of Pope Gregory III that the Church has observed a day for all the saints ever recognized officially, and for those who are in the process of becoming listed saints in the martyrology, and certainly all those holy men and women who ever lived. Looking at the Roman Martyrology, the book that contains all the saints of the Church, but it doesn’t list the all the Baptized. Hence, our feast day. There is a great dynamic of love that we observe today, but it should be a dynamic that we live every day of our lives. How many people, holy men and women have we known who touched out lives in great and small ways. I think of the various priests, and laity who promised to pray for me.
During his September visit to England, Pope Benedict boldly asked the young (indeed, all of us) to consider becoming saints and not to settle for something less than what we are made for. The value here, if you want to speak in this way, is that holiness is not for plastic people, people who have no sense of relationships, no concept of community, no understanding of the value of good friends. Holiness means taking ourselves seriously as loved people and worthy of friendship with the Lord and with another person; holiness is means setting aside distractions, sinful tendencies and the lack of attentiveness of God and what Jesus did for us. That is, Jesus’ death and resurrection for love of us personally. It’s taken me a long time to understand this point, and what the Pope has invited to, but there is solid, reliable truth in that God alone satisfies me. Which means, other things and mediocre relationships do not. Here is a portion of his homily:
What God wants
most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you
much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for
you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.
Perhaps some of
you have never thought about this before. Perhaps some of you think being a
saint is not for you. Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can
usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to
be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great
esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and
young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world
of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities
you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of
person would you really like to be?
When I invite you to become saints, I am
asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue
one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to
be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to
make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but
it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make
us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want,
but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find
it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple
– true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place
our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success,
or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the
deepest needs of our hearts.
Pope Benedict XVI
Greeting to Catholic Pupils of
the United Kingdom
St Mary’s College, Twickenham
17 September 2010