Christians Called to "Live Ordinary Things Extraordinarily"

Sanctity Doesn’t Come by Avoiding Reality, Says John Paul II

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 1, 2002 ( Christian life consists of «living ordinary things extraordinarily,» John Paul II says.

«Sanctity is acquired by following Jesus, not be avoiding reality and its trials, but facing them in the light and strength of his Spirit,» the Pope told the several thousand faithful gathered today at the papal summer residence for the weekly Angelus.

The Holy Father began by saying that in «many countries, the month of September means the return to work and school activities. Some took advantage of their summer to take part in endeavors of prayer, spiritual formation, work and service.»

Now, he added, «is the time to share one’s experiences with family, friends, groups, communities and associations, bringing enthusiasm, serenity and joy to everyday life.»

«This is the way to be ‘salt and light’ of the earth, as I reminded young people gathered in Toronto for the World Youth Day,» the Pope said.

«From the psychological point of view, the return to ordinary life is not always easy; in fact, sometimes it might entail some difficulties of readjustment to daily commitments,» he continued.

«It is, however, in ordinary life that God calls us to acquire that maturity of spiritual life, which consists precisely in living ordinary things extraordinarily,» he added.

This is how Jesus’ words in today’s liturgy are understood, the Pope explained, when he asks believers «to take up their cross every day and follow him, imitating him to the total gift of self to God and one’s brothers.»

In this way, the life of a Christian can become «a humble and joyful hymn of praise to God, in whose eyes one act of love is more valuable than grandiose enterprises.»

In greeting pilgrims in seven languages, John Paul II seemed to be in good humor. He even joined Portuguese pilgrims in a song.

To a pilgrim who cried out: «John Paul II, the whole world loves you,» the Pope responded with an affectionate gesture of the hand and asked: «And how do you know it?»

John Paul II plans to spend September in this town south of Rome.

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