The Holiness of Small Steps
The Constitution Lumen Gentiumlaunches a call to universal holiness. Pope Francis emphasizes that « this holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures » (Rejoice and Be Glad, 16).
Here is a beautiful encounter that reveals this progress towards Resurrection.
This morning, I visited a maternity clinic to meet a young couple who just lost their child. The mother would have given birth after a normal pregnancy but a few hours before doing so, her child died… How can one imagine such tragic event ? The readied cradle will remain empty.
Since her deilivery three days ago, the mother could not sleep. Her husband is not a believer but respects his wife’s faith. They came to the Chaplaincy to prepare a farewell celebration and to honor their daughter. « We have to do it for her, to accompany her until the end ». They were very attentive to each other. The beauty of their love shines through, their looks, their gestures, their words are marked by deep tenderness. They are in an emotional whirlwind that is so violent yet… they hold each other up.
They wish to take time to read the texts, to prepare this time of meditation with the family. Faced with the incomprehension and the pain, they do not rebel : « we are not angry ». They will join an association that accompanies parents who are in perinatal mourning. These suffering parents are shaken by the tragedy experienced by others who, like them, have lost an unborn child.
This couple, so devastated and so dignified, brings the light of the Gospel. Their love is that of Mary and Joseph, totally given to each other and open to whatever life offers. Their humility is that of the Centurion, when they allow their broken hearts be touched by other parents who experience the same pain. Their acceptance of this unspeakable ordeal is that of Mary standing at the foot of the Cross and receiving the body of her lifeless Son.
Their path of holiness is that of small steps, steps taken in the assurance of the promise of life beyond death.
Pope Francis invites us to this same path in the apostolic exhortation : Rejoice and Be Glad.
« At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life. It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord’s death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him. » (Rejoice and Be Glad, 20)
« … it is Christ who loves in us, for “holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full” » (Rejoice and Be Glad, 21)