“Holiness is a path, holiness cannot be bought nor sold. It cannot be given as a gift.” Holiness is a journey in God’s presence, and I have to go on it myself: another person cannot do it in my name. I can pray because for another person to become holy, but this person must walk the path, not me. Walking in God’s presence, blameless.” This is what Pope Francis said in the morning Mass at St. Martha’s House, commenting on the liturgical passage taken from the First Epistle of Peter, which he called “a little treatise on holiness.” The Pontiff has explained that what it means to move towards holiness, the “simple one, that of all Christians”: “it is a journey you can walk only if the following four essential elements support it: courage, hope, grace, and conversion”.
“Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven – the Pope said – is for those who have the courage to move forward” and the courage, he noted, is moved by “hope”, the second word of the journey that leads to holiness. The courage that hopes “in a meeting with Jesus.” Then, there is the third element, when Peter writes: “Put all your hope in grace.”
“We cannot do holiness on our own. No, it is a grace. Be good, be holy, go every day ‘a step forward in one’s Christian life is a grace of God and we have to ask for it – the Pontiff went on to say -. Courage, a journey. A journey you must make with courage, hope, and willingness to receive this grace. And hope: the hope of the journey. That chapter XI of the Episte to the Hebrews is so beautiful, read it. It narrates our fathers’ journey, the first ones called by God, and how they moved forward. About our father Abraham, it says: ‘He went out without knowing where he was going’. But he had hope.”
“Conversion, every day: ‘Oh, Father, for I have to do penance to convert, beat myself…’ No, no, no: little conversions. But if you make it not to speak ill of the others, you are on the right path to become a saint’. It is so easy! I know you never speak ill of the others, do you? Little things… I want to criticize a neighbor, a workmate: bite your tongue’. It will swell a bit, but your spirit will be holier on this journey. No great things or mortification: no, it is simple. The path towards holiness is simple. Do not go back; keep moving forwards all the time, ok? And with fortitude “.
Moreover, the Pope dedicated today’s Mass celebrated at St. Martha’s House to Chinese Christians, according to a tweet by Osservatore Romano. China celebrates Our Lady of Sheshan today, venerated in the sanctuary that bears her name. Francis has opened dialogue with Chinese authorities and has repeatedly expressed his desire to visit China.