The Universal Call to Holiness

Servant of God Bishop Gulgielmo Giaquinta, Founder of the Pro Sanctity Movement, with Blessed Pope John Paul II
Servant of God Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta, Founder of the Pro Sanctity Movement, with Blessed Pope John Paul II

In the middle of the 20th century, a young Italian priest had an idea: all people–without exception–are called to live a life of holiness and thereby become a saint. He called it the Universal Call to Holiness and founded the Pro Sanctity Movement to help spread this call and to give people a means to respond to it.

What is holiness? Our Founder answers: “Holiness is our maximum response to God’s infinite love.” If God’s love for us is infinite, our response should be one of maximalism. We read about this maximum response in the book of Deuteronomy: “Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength” (6:5).

The universal call to holiness is evident throughout the Bible. In Leviticus we read, “I am the Lord your God. Therefore, you must be holy as I am holy” (11:44). Our Lord tells us in St. Matthew’s Gospel that “you must be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48). Finally, St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “the will of God is your sanctification” (4:3).

The Second Vatican Council confirmed the theology of Servant of God Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. The Council Fathers tell us that “in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness…” You can read the entire document here.

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