If we wish to be holy, we need to convert every day.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis explained this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, drawing from today’s reading from the First Letter of St. Peter, which he called “a small treatise on holiness.”
Francis stressed four elements are needed for us to be ‘holy’ in the everyday: conversion, courage, hope, and grace.
Looking at the letter, the Pope emphasized that the conversion we are called to, signifies a continuous effort toward cleansing the heart.
“Conversion, every day,” Pope Francis clarified, does not mean one must beat oneself as penance for committing a wrong.
“No, no, no: small conversions… if you’re able to not speak ill of another, you’re on the right path to becoming saintly. It’s so easy! I know that you never speak ill of others, no? Little things … ‘I want to criticize a neighbor, a workmate’: bite your tongue a bit. The tongue will swell a bit, but your spirit will be holier on this journey. Nothing grand, mortification: no, it’s simple. The path to holiness is simple. Do not go back, but always moving forward, right? And with fortitude.”
Reflecting on the reading, Francis pointed out that holiness means “to walk in the presence of God without reproach:”
“Holiness is a journey; holiness cannot be bought. It can’t be sold. It cannot be given away. Holiness is a journey to God’s presence that I must make: no one else can do it in my name. I can pray for someone to be holy, but he’s the one who has to work towards [holiness], not me. Walk in God’s presence, in an impeccable way.”
Everyday holiness, he added, can be “anonymous,” but not timid, since, “The path to holiness takes courage.”
“Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven,” the Pope stressed, is for “those who have the courage to go forward” and courage, he observed, is generated by hope, another element that leads to holiness. In encounters with Jesus, he noted, we obtain courage ‘that hopes.’
This journey’s third element, the Pope observed, appears in Peter’s words: “Put all your hope in that grace:”
“We cannot achieve holiness on our own,” the Pontiff said. “No, it is a grace. Being good, being saintly, going every day a little ‘step forward’ in the Christian life is a grace of God and we have to ask for it. Courage, a journey, a journey one must take with courage, with hope and with the willingness to receive this grace. And hope: the hope of the journey.”
During the homily, the Pope urged the faithful to read the “beautiful” chapter XI of the Letter to the Hebrews, which recounts the journey of “our forefathers, the first to be called by God,” including Abraham, who “went out without knowing where he was going. But with hope.'”