Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor of the Church
(I Samuel 24:3-21; Mark 3:13-19)
Vatican II’s proclamation of the universal call to holiness surprised many people who somehow thought it an innovation. Of course, it was not. The Scriptures claim it (cf., I Thessalonians 4:7), and spiritual theologians like St. Francis de Sales have made it a foundational principle. Francis’ Introduction to the Devout Life gives insight to how people in different walks of life may come to know the Lord intimately. Perhaps the misinterpretation of today’s gospel has caused the confusion over this important truth.
Jesus calls his apostles from the growing number of disciples who have followed him. They are likely capable men with gifts of communication and tolerance to face the challenges of itinerant preaching. Those he does not choose for the task remain people charged to “repent and believe in the gospel.” In other words, they are still called to holiness even though, for one reason or another, Jesus does not specify their contribution to the Kingdom in the same way as the twelve.
Called to holiness by God, we endeavor to form a close relationship with Jesus. We learn about him through studying the gospels. We speak to him in prayer where we tell him of our love. And we ask his assistance with all our needs. His reply to us comes through our daily experience, especially the murmurings of conscience.