Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
Today we celebrate the feast days of several saints. Some were martyred (St. Albina, St. Valentine). Some founded monasteries (St. Beoc, St. Adelaide), religious orders (Bl. Clemente Marchisio), and secular institutes (Bl. Honoratus Kozminski). Some were religious leaders (Abbot Bl. Raynald de Bar, Patriarch Nicholas Chrysoberges, and Archbishop Ado of Vienne.
Each overcame significant challenges and achieved holiness. They lived “a new life” as put by today’s Responsorial Psalm. This new life is given by Baptism, which enables every Christian to participate in the priestly, kingly, and prophetic activities of the Lord. We share in His priesthood by offering our lives to God the Father as He did. We share in his kingship by making the world more humane and moral. We share in his prophetic activities by making known the word of God.
But we do not do these things in the same way: God has given each of us special gifts so that we can work together for the good of all. The laity thus need not abandon their place in the world. Rather, they are to transform that place by bringing Christ’s love to fruition. Holiness is the key and manifesting holiness is the responsibility of every Christian (#16). In Christifideles Laici, St. John Paul II writes, “The ‘world’ thus becomes the place and the means for the lay faithful to fulfill their Christian vocation, because the world itself is destined to glorify God the Father in Christ” (#15).
St. John Paul II also argues that it is imperative that all see the world as the Lord’s vineyard in which they are to work: “It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle” (#3). Widespread indifference to God and to human dignity require every Christian to bear fruit wherever they are planted. Remember, we are the branches and Christ is the vine, the hope of humanity, and The One Who Makes All Things New.
May contemplating the difficulties that great saints have overcome give us confidence that Christ will help us as well so that we can help light the world with His love.
Associate Professor of Philosophy