Pilgrims here on earth

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Image: The opening ceremony of Vatican II in St. Peter’s Basilica, 1962.  

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI has named the year from Oct. 11, 2012 through the Feast of Christ the King on Nov. 24, 2013 as the “Year of Faith.” Now would be a good time to read or review the documents of Vatican II available in the Vatican’s online archives at vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/

All of us “without exception
, both individually and in society, have a life-long obligation to strive after heavenly values. . . . The traditional as well as the contemporary Christian approach to life is to strive with all zeal for evangelical perfection, and at the same time to contribute toward the material good of humanity.”

Thus, Pope John XXIII set forth the demands of Christian discipleship in his address at the opening of the Second Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962.

The universal call to holiness is a theme that threads its way through all of the major documents produced by this historic gathering. As one of those documents, Lumen Gentium, states: “All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity. . . . In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. . . . They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good. . . .”

What is known in vocation circles as the “process of discernment” is simply the time we “pilgrims here on earth” take to identify our strengths and gifts and determine how they may best be put to use in joyful service of the church and the world as we “journey onwards towards our heavenly homeland” (Opening Address, 1962).

Patrice TuohyPatrice J. Tuohy is a co-founder and publisher of TrueQuest Communications, publishers of VISION, and a regular contributor to Take Five for Faith: Daily formation for busy Catholics, TakeFiveForFaith.com, and Prepare The Word: The Complete Preacher’s Toolkit, PrepareTheWord.com.




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