“Do not be afraid to aim for holiness and turn yourselves over to the love of God. Holiness does not mean performing extraordinary things but carrying out daily things in an extraordinary way – that is, with love, joy and faith.” That’s what Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s square on Wednesday for the weekly General Audience.
Speaking in Italian, the Pope said the Church is not without sin because it is made up of sinners. Priests, sisters, bishops, cardinals and even Popes are sinners. ‘Who, among the pilgrims gathered in the square, he asked, is not a sinner?’ ‘We are all sinners!’ He exclaimed.
Throughout its two thousand year history, he said, the Church went through many “trials, problems (and) moments of darkness.” But how can a Church “made up of human beings, of sinners,” he asked, “be holy?”
Recalling Christ, who gave himself up for the Church, he said this ultimate sacrifice is what renders the Church holy. The Church, he went on, is holy for three reasons: firstly because it is faithful to God, who does not abandon it to the “powers of death and evil.” Secondly, because it “is united in an everlasting way to Jesus Christ,”and thirdly, because “it is led by the Holy Spirit who purifies, transforms and renews it.”
The Church, he concluded, does not renounce sinners, but opens its doors to everyone so they may find God’s tender mercy and forgiveness.
You can listen to Vatican Radio's report HERE and also read the full text of the general audience