Pope Benedict waves as he leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square April 13.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARRING

Pope Benedict waves as he leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square April 13.

April 25, 2011
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

VATICAN CITY — Everyone is called to holiness, which is simply striving to imitate Christ, particularly in loving God and loving others, Pope Benedict said April 13.

Ending a long series of general audience talks about saints and doctors of the Church, the pope spoke about the meaning of holiness and how it is achieved.

Pope Benedict said there are three simple rules for living a holy life:

  • "Never let a Sunday go by without an encounter with the risen Christ in the Eucharist; this is not an added burden, it is light for the entire week."
  • "Never begin or end a day without at least a brief contact with God" in prayer.
  • "And along the pathway of our lives, follow the road signs that God has given us in the Ten Commandments, read in the light of Christ; they are nothing other than explanations of what is love in specific situations."

The pope said he knows most people, aware of their limits and weaknesses, think it is impossible to become a saint.

The doubts, he said, are one of the reasons the Church proposes "a host of saints — those who fully lived charity and knew how to love and follow Christ in their daily lives" — to be remembered on specific days throughout the year.

The saints come from every period of the Church's history, every part of the world, every age group and every lifestyle, he said.

"I must say that, personally, for my faith, many saints — not all of them — are true stars in the firmament of history," the pope said.

"But I also want to say that for me it is not just the great saints, who I know well, who show me the path to follow, but the simple saints — the good people who I have known in my life and who will never be canonized."

The unnamed saints "are people who are, so to say, 'normal,' without visible heroism, but in their goodness each day, I see the truth of the faith, this goodness that has matured in the faith of the Church.

"For me, their goodness is the surest form of apologetics for the Church and a sign of where truth lies," the pope said.

"It is in the communion of the saints — canonized and not canonized — that the Church lives," Pope Benedict said.

"We enjoy their presence, their company and we should cultivate the firm hope of imitating their journey and of joining them one day in the same blessed life, eternal life," he said.

Pope Benedict said the Holy Spirit wants to transform every Christian into "tiles in the great mosaic of holiness that God is creating in history."

"How great and beautiful and also simple is the Christian vocation seen in this light. All of us are called to holiness," he said.