29 November 2019
Laity

A people on the path towards holiness

Undersecretary Ghisoni to the meeting of the Conferência Nacional das Associações do Apostolado dos Leigos at the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference

What is the greatest challenge that the call to holiness places on the lay faithful in light of the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exultate? “Singing our score, not an ideal yet not real,” performing it “together with those who, alongside us in their turn, sing a different line in the same musical score, but in harmony with all, letting themselves be guided confidently by the hand of the Director, who wisely guides us and makes us into players in a great symphony, an expression of our journeying together as a people.” This is how Linda Ghisoni, Undersecretary of our Dicastery, answered on Saturday, 23 November in Santarém, Portugal at the fifth national gathering of the National Conference of Associations of Lay Apostolates, which is recognized by the local episcopal conference.

In a crowded auditorium filled with six hundred lay people coming from all of the dioceses of Portugal, and in the presence of the Patriarch of Lisbon, the Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal, and several bishops, Linda Ghisoni stated that the call to holiness pertains to every baptized person, without exception, and therefore she affirmed that, to respond to this call, it is enough to “live the faithful and humble response of what we are and what we are called to become, based on the vocation genetically inscribed in us from the time of baptism, which has grafted us like branches onto one life, as sons in the Son: a call that contains in itself the specific mission for each one of us.”

If “each one of us has a mission of our own, the concrete characteristics of which are proper to our specific family and social situation, whether we are married, parents, or single because of our dedication to our work; whether we are men or women, young or old,” all of us “will live the concrete mission we have received from the Lord as our ‘own’ way of sanctification, unique and unrepeatable for each one, …without rushing forwards or backwards and without shirking our daily work or social commitments in volunteering and in public life.”

The attitude to adopt is one of “constant intelligent listening and great prudence also in evaluating the events of daily life from a perspective of faith, and living them out in a way coherent with the Gospel. This kind of dedication,” she explained “is out path to holiness.”

This proposition is “fascinating.” “To make our entire existence the manifestation of a single divine project, one which has been revealed to us and which we have embraced. It is a proposal to reach a full interior unification, to become fully transparent, to ourselves and to others […] People who have an undivided heart, a simple soul, and a unified vital center are generally straightforward people, filled with strength because they are not afraid of their own weakness, dependable, strangers to all hypocrisy and duplicity, who inspire trust, and who often make others fall in love with those ideals for which they live and for which they spend themselves with total dedication. Here, I think, is the appeal of all the saints.”

From this point of view, the “popular dynamic” plays a particular role: “We are born of a God who is communion, and so the dynamic of a people, of the communion to which the Pope invites us, is nothing but a correspondence to our authentic nature, to our trademark, to the musical score in which we are called to play our part.”