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Called to be Holy

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP Blog by Associate Co-Director Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP[/caption] Great is Your Holiness, O God, (repeat) Great is Your Holiness, Gracious in Righteousness, Great is Your Holiness, and we bow to You. Form us in holiness and truth, Teach us to live in holy peace. Sharing Your Godliness, You fill our emptiness. Great is Your Holiness, and we worship You. In 1994 I was inspired to write these words to a melody that spontaneously welled up in me during my prayer time. It is still one of my favorites of all the spiritual songs I had the joy of writing. This song came to my mind again as I read and pondered Christ's Words in yesterday's Gospel (Matthew 5:38+) - "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, who makes the sun rise on the bad and the good…Be holy, just as your heavenly Father is holy." Persons attracted to Dominican spirituality, interested in becoming an Associate with us Dominican Sisters of Peace, are invited to participate in a year-long discernment process of prayer, study and forming community with other candidates, led by a Mentor Team and accompanied by an Associate or Sister companion on their spiritual journey. One of the first topics in the Associates Guidebook used for this process is devoted to "The Universal Call to Holiness." Christ's words, "Be holy, just as your heavenly Father is holy," were addressed to all who want to follow Him and truly be His disciples. So just what is this "holiness" to which we are called? Nicole Flores, featured in Catholic Women Preach on the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, asked, "What does it mean for us to be holy?" Her answer: "The call to holiness resonates throughout Scripture, inviting us to pursue discipleship with pure hearts that belong to God…to set ourselves apart from sin, from lies, from injustice." She continues, "The call to holiness compels us to reject evil, but it never gives us permission to dehumanize our enemies...Whether this involves destroying someone's reputation, stripping them of power, or harboring deep loathing toward them, holiness has been wrongly construed to give permission to hate, to mock, to demean…Holiness has nothing to do with hatred…[Christ] requires abiding holiness that keeps us from discarding those whose interests and beliefs do not align with our own - whether political opponents, work rivals, or frustrating family members; we misunderstand the call of holiness the moment we refuse to love." "Purity of heart," she concludes, "is not hatred for the enemy, but love which knows no boundaries, and offers love and mercy to the neighbor because love and mercy were first offered to us by God." Her words both inspire and challenge me to keep a guard on the movements of my heart as I read/watch/listen to daily news reports and commentaries on more shootings, hate crimes, plots of ISIS, the plight of refugees and immigrants and victims of human trafficking, etc, as well as choices, words, and actions by the US President that alarm or disappoint me. As Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates together in mission, we are committed to "Create environments of peace by promoting non-violence, unity in diversity, and reconciliation among ourselves, in the Church and throughout the world." But it all begins with noticing our own tendencies toward violence and hatred, and deliberately choosing to replace it with the "costly" LOVE modeled by Christ from the cross, and poured out like sunshine on good and bad alike. "Be holy as God is holy." "Great is Your Holiness, O God! Form us in holiness and truth. Teach us to live in holy peace."

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