VATICAN CITY – Holiness is not a privilege reserved to a few people, but is a call that all men and women are meant to answer, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“All human beings are called to holiness which, in the final analysis, consists in living as children of God, (living) in that ‘likeness’ to him in which they were created,” the pope said Nov. 1, the feast of All Saints.
“God invites everyone to be part of his holy people,” said Pope Benedict, reciting the Angelus at midday as several thousand people gathered in the rain in St. Peter’s Square.
The saints “radiate the splendor of God’s kingdom of love and truth,” he said, telling English-speaking visitors in the square that Christians should look to the saints as real examples to follow.
The pope said the church “wisely” placed the feasts of All Souls and All Saints next to each other on the calendar, encouraging Catholics to unite their prayers of thanks to God for the multitude of saints who have lived on the earth with prayers for all those who have died.
While the Nov. 2 feast of All Souls is a time for special prayers for those who have died, he said, “the church invites us to pray for them every day, also offering up our sufferings and daily trials so that, completely purified, they would be allowed to enjoy the light and peace of the Lord for eternity.”
Addressing French-speakers, the pope said the beatitudes are “a road map for discovering the path to holiness.
The saints, he told Polish-speaking pilgrims, “give us the example of love for God and for others, of fruitful collaboration with divine grace, and they sustain us in our journey toward holiness.”