The call to live beautiful and holy lives

This weekend of August 8, the Church celebrated the feast of St. Dominic and the 800th anniversary of this Spanish saint’s entry into eternal life.  St. Dominic is known for, amongst other things, founding the Order of Friars Preachers (the Dominicans) and spreading the praying of the rosary, sourced from our Blessed Mother.  As we reflect on his holiness, it is a fitting time to think about our own call to sanctity so that we can live our lives beautifully in the way God intends.

Dominicans sometimes refer to their order’s founder as lumen ecclesiae, the light of the Church.  Why?  Because St. Dominic reflected the light of Christ for the salvation of souls.  A well-functioning mirror is one that is balanced and reflects light well because that is its purpose.  Like a good mirror, to reflect the light of Christ St. Dominic gave his whole life to God for God’s work, and as a result of this he lived a balanced life sanctified all the way through—a balance beginning and ending in the Lord.  The Lord was the source of St. Dominic’s strength and mission, and he was nourished through the Eucharist and the word as he preached to and served God’s people.  The giving of his whole self led St. Dominic to holiness.

The call to holiness is universal and personal between God and each one of us, as is repeated in the scriptures.

“I am the Lord your God… Be holy, for I am holy [1].”

“God desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth [2].”

“As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [3].”

In Lumen gentium, the dogmatic constitution of the Church from the Second Vatican Council, the Church affirms this unique call to holiness.  “All the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his own way, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect [4].”

What does this holiness look like?  Is it to be a priest or a religious like St. Dominic, working towards the salvation of souls in the world?  Maybe.  But the call is individualized for each of us.  As the lay Dominican St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”  Who God meant you to be can be found in his personal call that will bring you fulfilment.  Through God’s grace we have all been given unique gifts and talents that manifest in our lives.  We are meant to consent to and cooperate with the gifts of God, listening to his will for us instead of clinging to our own will or being so involved in the world, our school, or our work that we do not have time for the Lord.  We are called to respond in the way Christ would to the unknown circumstances that will come to us, and through this we can help to reflect the light of Christ.  As we listen to God’s will and move through our daily circumstances, our acts of faith, hope, and charity will bring us towards holiness over the course of our lives.

If we are not sure where to begin this journey towards God, a fitting place is a deepening of our relationship with him through some of the means he and his Church have given us: praying; reading, meditating on, and contemplating scripture; celebrating the Eucharist; making routine confession.  We can also get involved in our parishes as we are able based on our own life circumstances.

The Lord knows each of us and loves each of us more than we know and love ourselves.  By getting to know him and by making him most important in our lives, we can come to know and follow his individualized will for each of us.  May St. Dominic pray for us as we strive to grow in faith and answer the Lord’s call, so that God can make our lives beautiful and holy as we journey the path to heaven.

Michael Anctil, 08 Aug 2021



[1] Lev 11:44

[2] 1 Tim 2:4

[3] 1 Pet 1:15

[4] Lumen Gentium, 11

Michael Anctil

About the Author: Michael Anctil

Michael Anctil was recently accepted into priestly formation for the diocese of Richmond and will be starting pre-theology in the fall of 2021 at Theological College, Washington, D.C.