Monday, September 8, 2014



Photo: R. Massaro-Our Lady of Fatima Shrine Lewiston, NY

In today's spiritual term we can see in its shadow the word "sanctus," which means holy.  However, in the Catholic Dictionary from which the following definition is taken, we get directly to the point of the meaning of this word: sanctity is purity of heart, obtained through the heroic gift of charity, bestowed on an individual by the Holy Spirit.

Sanctity: An eminent degree of "charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith." (I Timothy 1:5)
The Catholic Dictionary by Donald Atwater

One of the marks of the Catholic Church is that it is holy.  As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are called to personal holiness and purity of heart. And the Church is praying for our sanctification at each and every Mass.  I have been thinking about this lately, because I especially like the Eucharistic Prayer that entreats the Lord to bring us to the fullness of charity.

Eucharistic Prayer II states:
Remember, Lord, your Church, spread throughout the world, and bring her to the fullness of charity...

And this beautiful phrase from Eucharistic Prayer III:
Be pleased to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim Church on earth...

Let's go back to what the Letter of Timothy stated at the beginning of this post. He describes the one who is holy. They possess:

*An eminent degree of charity

*A pure heart
*A good conscience
*An unfeigned faith

We could do a meditation and examination of conscience on these spiritual qualities of a holy person.

Do I possess a high degree of charity? Do I go the extra mile, forgetting myself and my wants to help someone in need? Do I fast and pray for others?  Do I make sacrifices for others? Do I pray for my enemies?

Do I possess a pure heart?  Well, perhaps this is hard to determine. St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us that the truly humble and pure of heart don't even know they possess these gifts. They observe them in others and pray for these gifts to be bestowed on them.  But we could in some way tell if we have the makings of a pure heart-

* Is the initial movement of my soul-my "first response" towards 


*Am I saddened and mournful over my sins and the sins of the 


* Do I try to console the heart of God who is much-offended in the


*Do I have empathy for those who are suffering?

* Do I see the good in people who at first sight may be "written off"

   by society?

*Do I treat those who have hurt me differently than those who have

  been kind to me?

A good conscience. A good conscience is an informed conscience. It is a conscience that is formed according to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. A good conscience brings true peace to the soul. This person is at peace with God and his neighbor.

An unfeigned faith. Do I have a sincere and genuine faith?  Do I truly love God and his Church?  Do I go to church just to please my spouse or others? Do I have a desire to share my faith with others?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the Church is the universal Sacrament of Salvation. I would say we are in good hands!  For the Catechism states: "The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament--a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men. The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God..."

As Secular Carmelites, this is the heart of our vocation: union with God.  That is why we are called to attend Mass daily, if possible. We are to be Eucharistic people. This sacramental life opens the door to union with the Beloved. Then, fed by the Lord and strengthened and confirmed in love, we go out to be of service to our neighbor. Oh! The beauty and simplicity in the call of the Christian and the Carmelite! It's not complicated. The Church makes it very easy for us. 

As I stated in the beginning. The Church is praying for us, praying for us to be saints.

...The Church's structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. And holiness is measured according to the great mystery in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom. Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 773.

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, ocds

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