Vocation of a Christian Is Holiness, Says John Paul II

Has Its Roots in Baptism, He Tells the Faithful

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OSIJEK, Croatia, JUNE 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- During the Mass he celebrated at the Osijek-Cepin airfield, John Paul II asked the more than 100,000 pilgrims present: «What is the vocation of a Christian?»

«The answer is demanding: The vocation of a Christian is holiness,» the Pope said Saturday. «It is a vocation which has its roots in baptism and is proposed anew by the other sacraments, and principally by the Eucharist.»

The Holy Father explained that he came to these lands close to Serbia «to remind you, in the name of the Lord, that you are called to holiness in every season of life … [in] the spring of youth, in the summer of maturity, then in the autumn and winter of old age, and at last at the hour of death and even beyond death.»

He went on to speak about the commitment to holiness «in the final purification preordained by God’s merciful love.» That was a reference to Church doctrine on «the final purification, or purgatory.»

No. 1030 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: «All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.»

«The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned,» the following number of the Catechism states.

In order to reflect on their call to holiness, the Pope addressed a number of questions to the faithful present.

«What have I done with my baptism and my confirmation?» he asked. «Is Christ truly the center of my life? Do I give space to prayer during the day? Do I live my life as a vocation and a mission?»

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