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Thursday, June 13, 1996

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St. Anthony of Padua


1 Kings 18:41-46
Psalm 65
Matthew 5:20-26

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"holy, holy, holy" (rv 4:8)

"I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:20

Jesus calls us to be holy as He is holy — to be holy in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15-16). Our holiness may need to surpass even that of those we consider holy (see Mt 5:20). We must become the very righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21, NAB rev.) and become perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48). Jesus' standards for holiness are the highest ever set for human beings. In fact, they are humanly impossible — but absolutely necessary for us to see God (Heb 12:14), that is, to go to heaven.

The only way to meet the Lord's requirement of perfect holiness (1 Thes 5:23) is through the Holy Spirit. We cannot be holy by our might and power, but only by the Holy Spirit (Zec 4:6). Only the Holy Spirit can prepare for the Lord a Church that is "holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort" (Eph 5:27).

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a stronger desire for holiness. May you want holiness more than you want pleasure. May you love the Lord so deeply that you want to be like Him, that is, to be holy. May you live and die for holiness' sake (see Mt 5:6). Come, Spirit of holiness!

Prayer:  Father, may I be sick of sin, crucified to the world (Gal 6:14), and holy.

Promise:  "Your paths overflow with a rich harvest; the untilled meadows overflow with it, and rejoicing clothes the hills." —Ps 65:12-13

Praise:  Anthony once preached in a town which refused to listen to God's word. He then told the townspeople that their fish would receive the word better than they. As he preached at the riverbank, a great crowd of fish gathered, rose to the surface of the water, and listened to God's word. The townspeople repented and were converted.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Be Holy, For I Am Holy.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1995


Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 4, 1995