How can ordinary people become holy according to the Catholic Church?

A common definition of a saint is an ordinary person who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is the last criterion that determines holiness.

By the sacrament of baptism everyone is called to be holy and a saint. How we cooperate with God’s graces and practice the virtues is up to us. We are given this life to prove our love for God. We have been created to know, love, and serve God, and to prepare ourselves in this life to be with Him for all eternity.

God helps us in many ways to become holy. First, He sent His only Son to show us the way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Any person serious about becoming holy needs to allow Jesus to be in the driver’s seat; his or her will must be united with God’s will.

The Lord gave us the Church to be a beacon of holiness. The Church is holy not because of its members, though there are many saints who belong to the Church, but because of Jesus, the Founder. It is holy because Jesus endowed His Church with special gifts—eternal truths contained in sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments which confer grace—making the Church the vehicle of salvation.

Staying close to the teaching magisterium of the Church, attending the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and receiving the sacrament of penance when needed, are all spiritual tools to aid a person in becoming holy. In addition, there are many role models to aid the person in holiness. The lives of the saints are a fertile ground of holiness; they give examples of how to become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. In addition, the communion of saints prays for us here on earth. The saints bring our prayers to Jesus and want us to share in the same joy that they have in paradise.

The Holy Scriptures, prayers, devotions, sacramentals, and pilgrimages all help the person grow closer to Jesus. In addition, Jesus gives us one another to lend support on our spiritual pilgrimage. Our fellow passengers on the road to heaven can pray for us, encourage us, guide us, and counsel us. In the negative sense, a fellow passenger can also test our holiness when he or she is not loving to us. We should learn to love them as Jesus loved His enemies on the wood of the cross.

By cooperating with the graces that God bestows upon us every day, we have every chance to become holy in this life. Holiness means we are on the right track to salvation. It is not an exclusive club, though few accept it.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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