Universal call to holiness

Universal Call to Holiness and Apostolate is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that all people are called to be holy. (See Lumen Gentium, Chapter V) [Lumen Gentium [http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html] ] This Church teaching states that all within the church should live holy lives and spread holiness to others. This term is used by theologians primarily to stress that a Roman Catholic cannot think that a different standard applies to those who are "saints", or those in the religious life. It ties in with the theological concept of "perfection", and with the saying of Jesus "Be ye perfect as your heavenly father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48 - The last line of the Antithesis of the Law).

The universal call to holiness in the Roman Catholic Church is rooted in baptism, a sacrament which configures a person to Jesus Christ who is God and man, thus uniting a person with the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, bringing him in communion with intra-trinitarian life.

As John Paul II states in his apostolic Letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" [Novo Millenio Ineunte [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20010106_novo-millennio-ineunte_en.html] ] , his master plan for the new millennium, a "program for all times", holiness is not only a state but a task, whereby Christians should strive for a full Christian life, imitating Christ, the Son of God, who gave his life for God and for his neighbor. This entails a "training in the art of prayer". According to the Pope, all pastoral initiatives have to set in relation to holiness, as this has to be the topmost priority of the Church.

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