"I imagine that not a few people, perhaps even among us and certainly among the young, would have had the sensation that the word 'holiness' sounded a little foreign to the language of the contemporary world," says the Rector Major in the Strenna for 2019. Yet, he continues, "becoming saints is the first and most urgent task for a Christian."
But what does it mean: "Holiness for you, too"? Pope Francis expresses it in a simple and clear way in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate when, after affirming that to be saints it is not necessary to be bishops, priests, religious or religious, he adds:
"We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain." (GE, n° 14).
In this way, holiness is not unattainable, but something truly within everyone's reach: something that leads to becoming the best possible version of what God has imagined for each human being. And, in doing so, holiness means giving one's personal contribution to the construction, already in this earth, of a "civilization of love".
When, in his Letter from Rome of May 10, 1884, Don Bosco wrote to his young people "My only desire is to see you happy in time and in eternity", he underlines the unity between the happiness of a “saintly” life on Earth, with the bliss that can be reached in Heaven.
The days of November 1st, with the celebration of saints, and November 2nd, with the memory of the deceased - among whom surely many who have lived "the sanctity of the (person) next door", as per Pope Francis - become then an opportunity to renew one's commitment to "becoming saints" in this land, on this Earth, to enjoy heavenly bliss, with loved ones, in Heaven.