It is a simple duty for you and for me” says St. Mother Teresa. The company of the saints helps us conquer all fear and tribulation, they are models for us, pilgrims. We also need earthly models of holiness. Saints are all around us, women and men whose generous spirit reflects the Gospel call to love and serve God and others. Some do it by making the ordinary holy through a spirit of simplicity and humility. Some do it by showing extraordinary courage in sickness and adversity. Some do it by railing against injustice and working to bring equality and dignity to all. One of the messages from the Synod of Bishops for the new evangelization is the call to holiness. This sounds overly simplistic and obvious, but it is at the root of all we do as a Church and as the People of God. Of course, we all have different ideas of holiness. The Word of God invites us to the beatitudes, that wonderful litany of “Blessed are.” In the beatitudes, holiness is equated with being poor in spirit, meek, mourning, hungering for righteousness, merciful, and clean of heart.
Interestingly, there is no mention of blessed are the rule-makers, the self-righteous or the judgmental. In the messiness of life, holiness is possible. To be saints it is not necessary to perform extraordinary deeds and works, nor is it necessary to possess exceptional charisms, it is all about listening to Jesus and then to follow him and not lose heart in the face of difficulties and disappointments. He says, “If anyone wants to serve me, he must follow me, and where I am there also is my servant. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26).
In short, holiness for us Salesians is being JOYFUL. Joy is the standard of our Salesian life and effective means evangelization. As Mother General mentions in Cir. 991 “we must love our vocation, be happy to serve the Lord in joy. It is a joy that we cannot keep for ourselves. Radiating the joy of our vocation is a kind of evangelization that we are all called to. It is a way of letting ourselves be pervaded by the spirit of the Magnificat, by the atmosphere of the beatitudes characteristic of our spirituality”. (cf. C 8/10).