Far from being something that we can acquired through our own strength, holiness should be welcomed like a gift of from God and a calling. Holiness was the topic addressed at the Shalom Forum in Fortaleza, Brazil by Moysés Azevedo, the founder of the Shalom Catholic Community, to the more than 5000 participants.
“Only God is holy. The Holy Spirit pours out God’s holiness upon us. We receive holiness for free. It is a gift and a vocation because God calls us to be holy. God has welcomed each and everyone of us to be holy”, affirms Moysés. He highlighted that God made us to be free, which is why holiness is also a choice.
“Holiness is a relationship with God, it is not a goal. It is a relationship. The extent to which holiness is given is through the stature that Christ reaches in us. Holiness is a gift, a vocation and a response to free will. Because in the end, it is necessary to let ourselves be loved by God to allow Him to operate in us and let his Love transform us”.
The “can” of us becoming saints is not in our hands, but according to Moysés, there is something that only we can obtain: the desire for holiness. Because to desire sanctity is the only way to unite ourselves to God.
Holiness and Mercy
Another important aspect that Moysés raised for us that holiness necessitates mercy. “For mercy to act we cannot resign ourselves to the fact that we are sinners. Because evil cannot and should not be the defining word of our lives. The definitive word in our lives is the Mercy of God. Holiness consists of not give up on Christ’s journey of light because weaknesses but to go through it”. He also states that the worst state of soul that we can be in is the state of accommodation, whereas the pain of contrition attracts the divine mercy.
“Sanctity is the encounter between our fragility and the power of the grace of God. God forgives, erases, forgets and transforms. This transformation is called holiness” said Moysés. By citing Pope Francis on sanctity, “Gaudete et Exsultate”, he gives us a few tips on how to live holiness:
- When faced with anxiety, you need to have patience, meekness and endurance: “God’s patience saves the world, man’s impatience destroys the world. We should with our lives give the reply of God’s patience, meekness and endurance”.
- When faced with sadness: happiness and sense of humour.
- Parresia, audacity and ardour: there is no sanctification without donation for others, for the kingdom. “No one can become holy alone. No one can save themselves nor sanctify themselves alone. God wanted to save us having in mind this complex relationship which is called human community”.
- Teach to pray, love and serve: virtues that are learned and exercised in the Community. “The community serves to generate saints.” Finally, remember: “We were created to serve others”.
Translation: Gabriela Gois
Revision: Steven Heiber