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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Jan 12, 2009)
One of our readers recently complained to me, with considerable dismay, about the way St. Faustina, in her Diary, writes of the superiority of the "religious" way to holiness, in contrast to the way of ordinary, lay Christians.

For example, in Diary entry 1702, St. Faustina records Jesus' words to her as follows: "The great sins of the world are superficial wounds on My Heart, but the sins of a chosen soul pierce my Heart through and through." In Diary entry 580, Jesus said to her: "I am more deeply wounded by the small imperfections of chosen souls than by the sins of those living in the world. ... These little imperfections are not all. I will reveal to you a secret of my Heart; what I suffer from chosen souls. Ingratitude in return for so many graces is my Heart's constant food, on the part of such a chosen soul. Their love is lukewarm..."

In Diary entry 424, Christ compares for her the light of the moon and the stars in the night sky: "Do you see how great is the difference? ... Such is the difference in heaven between the soul of a religious and the soul of a faithful Christian."

The complaint I received summed up the matter like this:

Many passages in the Diary make dismissive comparisons between "religious" and "souls in the world." I teach RCIA, and one of the fundamental things I try to get across — as taught in scripture, the Church Fathers, the documents of Vatican II, and such recent letters as Pope John Paul II's "The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful" — is that Baptism calls each and every Christian to a life of great holiness. All of us are "religious" in that sense. ... Maybe, like St. Peter, I'm just a little bit jealous. God forgive me, but this message [from the Diary] is unbearable, that those of us who are not vowed religious are second-class Christians automatically destined for a lesser degree of grace. ... I mind very much that my life can never be as loving or bear as much fruit as that of a religious. God, who has saved us at a great price, deserves more than a "lesser choice" from each one of us. Each state in life has particular difficulties and particular advantages, but all states in life are unique opportunities for a sacrifice of praise ... such was the great wisdom of St. Therese of Lisieux.

So is your point that all vocations and callings and states in life are equal paths to holiness?

To say that every state in life is unique and can be a path to sanctity is one thing — of course that is right, and it is the teaching of Vatican II — but to argue that every state in life is, therefore, an equal pathway to the very heights of holiness is surely not true!

We can disprove it in an instant. The singular vocation to be the Mother of God Incarnate was a calling in the Church that involved an unparalleled intimacy with Jesus, the Son of God, an unparalleled participation in His redemptive work, and an unparalleled original grace to carry it out: the grace of the Immaculate Conception. All the saints are holy, but they are not equal. Mary is the Queen of all the saints!

And as you have referred to St. Therese of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church, so I will refer to her as well. She writes in chapter one of her autobiography, The Story of a Soul: "I understood that there were many degrees of perfection and each soul was free to respond to the advances of our Lord, to do little or much for him, in a word, to choose among the sacrifices He was asking."

Then, in chapter two, she writes:

It was [my sister] Pauline, too, who received all my intimate confidences and cleared up all my doubts. Once I was surprised that God didn't give equal glory to all the Elect in heaven, and I was afraid all would not be perfectly happy. Then Pauline told me to fetch Papa's large tumbler and set it alongside my thimble and filled both to the brim with water. She asked me which one was fuller. I told her each was as full as the other and that it was impossible to put in more water than they could contain. My dear Mother helped me to understand that in heaven God will grant His Elect as much glory as they can take, the last having nothing to envy in the first.

Although St. Therese is not discussing the different states of life in this passage, she is telling us something important about the process of sanctification. Many of us are religious "communists" at heart: We want equal outcomes for everyone in heaven, or at least an equal opportunity for us all to reach the heights of holiness. But God is not a socialist! He has a plan for each one of us as unique individuals, a plan for us to serve Him, and to be sanctified in serving Him, according to the natural capacities He gave us, through the different states in life to which He calls us.

Moreover, looking at those states in life in the abstract — that is, apart from particular individual and extraordinary circumstances, which is the only way we can fairly compare them — they are not equal paths to the heights of sanctity. When we live them out, with the help of grace, some of them are more likely to develop us into spiritual "thimbles" and some of them more likely to make us into "Papa's large tumbler" (as was the case of the vocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary), needing to receive and able to respond to extraordinary measures of grace. In general and in the abstract, therefore, some vocations and states in life really are objectively "higher" than others.

Of course, that does not mean that just because one has been called to a special state in life, one is therefore, automatically more "holy" than anyone else. If one thoroughly surrenders to the grace of God in such a state, then the heights of sanctity are indeed open. But if one fails to live out that special vocation properly, then one may very well be in an even worse state than others. As Jesus said: "Every one to whom much is given, of him much will be required" (Lk 12:48). And Shakespeare sums it up well, too: "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds."

That is surely the reason why Jesus told St. Faustina that even the "little imperfections" of chosen souls (that is, souls in the religious life) wound his heart more than the sins of those living in the world. By the way, Jesus did not say "more than the greatest sins of those living in the world." I do not think Jesus meant to say to Sr. Faustina that the worst mortal sins of those living in the world that you can think of, like murder or rape or child abuse, are less painful to His Heart than the little imperfections of irritability and selfishness committed by monks and nuns.

A careful reading of each of the Diary passages quoted above shows that He is merely saying, in general, that a lesser sin by a religious wounds his Heart more than a greater sin of a layperson living in the world. And doesn't this stand to reason? Those who have taken religious vows have promised to be dedicated to Him in a special way; how much He must be grieved by their betrayal and ingratitude above all others: "Even My bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of My bread, has lifted his heel against Me" (Ps 41:9).

As for Christian faithfulness, when we get to heaven, some will be like full tumblers and some like full thimbles, but all will be as full as they can be with love and joy, for they have been fashioned by our Lord into receptacles of grace of different capacities, and therefore no one will have any cause to envy anyone else, as St. Therese so aptly puts it.

This brings us to another important point — about objectively comparing "states in life" and seeing that some are objectively "higher" than others. But subjectively, for me as an individual, the highest state in life is simply the one that I am called to.

Our Lord who made me has suited me for a calling or vocation to a particular state in life. To try to live out any other state, whether it be "higher" or "lower" in the abstract, is to try to fit "a square peg into a round hole." It magnifies the difficulties on your path to holiness considerably to aspire to a vocation to which God has never suited you, and to which He never really called you. Again, the easiest path to sanctity for you as an individual is simply the one to which you are called: to live in the world or in the religious life, lay or ordained, married or single. In this sense, too, the states of life are certainly not equal paths to holiness. The highest one for you is simply your own.

FINAL NOTE: My questioner assumes that the official teaching of the Church, at least since Vatican II, is that the lay state is an equal path to holiness — indeed to the heights of holiness — to that of consecrated virginity.

This is simply not true. Vatican II taught that there is a universal, baptismal call to holiness; the Council did not teach that the paths to holiness are universally equal in every respect. The special status of consecrated virginity had already been taught by an ecumenical Council of the Church, the Council of Trent in the 16th century:

If anyone says that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity or celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity or in celibacy than to be in matrimony, let him be anathema.

Pope Pius XII taught the same thing in his encyclical Sacra Virginitas, saying "it is solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith ... and explained in the same sense by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church." Pope John Paul II repeated the same teaching again in his apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem, where he reminds us of its scriptural basis: "In the first letter to the Corinthians (7:38) Saint Paul proclaims the superiority of virginity over marriage which is a constant teaching of the Church, in accordance with Christ's words recorded in the gospel of Matthew (19:10-12)."

There are many reasons why the celibate state, undertaken for the sake of the Kingdom, can be so fruitful for attaining sanctity. First, it is a way of life in the most literal imitation of Jesus, who Himself lived out a celibate vocation.

Secondly, for those who are called to it, and who cooperate with God's grace, it opens their lives to a greater freedom and availability to serve the needs of others. As Pope John Paul puts it: "celibacy is a sign of the freedom that exists for the sake of service."

Third, for those who are called to it, the extended times of solitude and silence often available to the celibate can become deep wellsprings of contemplative prayer, which is why contemplative religious communities are sometimes called "the praying heart of the Church."

Fourth, within the Church as a whole, those in celibate vocations and communities stand as special signs or icons, pointing to our future state in the world to come, where we shall "neither marry nor be given in marriage, but are like the angels" (Mt 22:30), united in one communion of praise and fellowship. Finally, one of the things that makes the life of consecrated virginity a special way to holiness is that it involves the voluntary embrace of three extra crosses that many of us are not asked to bear: the crosses of poverty, chastity (celibacy) and obedience.

Every human life is filled with suffering and sorrows of all kinds, but these three, after our Lord's example, if fully embraced out of love for Him, can help make the others a refiners fire of love. How many of the greatest saints of the Church have found the heights of sanctity this way: St. Francis and St. Dominic, St. Anthony and St. Theresa, St. Benedict and St. Catherine of Siena, St. Pio and St. Faustina!

But remember, when you as an individual have discerned what state in life you are called to, then for YOU there is no higher possible state than that one, and no more direct road to heaven!

And one more thing: I would argue that after consecrated virginity, the next highest vocation in the Church is that of motherhood. Again, the proof is seen in Mary. The Queen of all the saints was not only a consecrated virgin, but a Mother, too!

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy.

Got a question ? E-mail me at [email protected].

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

David A Bliss - Apr 7, 2014

It seems to me that the Virgin Mary, along with St Joseph (the universal patron of the Church), were
both laity.

La La - Feb 19, 2012

The qoutes you point out in regard to the consecrated state being "higher" than the marriage state means the very state itself is "higher", it does not state that those in those states are "holier", but that the state in itself is a "higher state because of what it icons. Big difference.

La La - Feb 19, 2012

Emphasis added: "All Christians in any walk or state in life are called to the FULLNESS of Christian life and to the PERFECTION of charity." All are called to holiness: "Be PERFECT, as your heavenly Father is perfect"
-What your trying to claim in this article is wrong.

Liz - Nov 16, 2011

I don't understand this at all. Why would a God who crazy in love with us, want us to "closer" or "farther away from Him in heaven? I thought that was the messge of Theology of the Body, that priests and religious are signs to us of what we will be like in heaven, not that it will be that way forever. When I read St. Faustina's diary all I seem to read is how much Jesus lives priests and religious, and how the rest of us lay people are second-class. The author of this piece seems to be flippant of the woman's response, but I think they are good things to bring up. Why would Jesus die on the cross for us, each one of us, just to add in favoritism later?

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 20, 2009

Let us go forward in Peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of all our labors...Saint Therese of The Child Jesus and of The Holy Face

Be a little saint on earth, then be a little angel in heaven endeared to our sweet loving Father!

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 20, 2009


O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring and wholly surrendered to Your Creative Loving Action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love forsaken for our sake, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You...even unto death! (...to die of love for You!) But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to clothe me with Yourself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come to me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior, O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, come upon me, and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O sweet Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; cover her with the shadow of the Holy Spirit, seeing in her only the Beloved in whom You are well pleased.

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to you as your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your Ever-greater Pure Love and Incomprehensibe Divine Mercy.

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 20, 2009


Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You PRESENT so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your STRENGTH and PROTECTION, that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for you are my LIGHT, and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me our loving Father's Will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your VOICE and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your LOVE, Your GRACE, Your WILL, Your HEART, Your SPIRIT because I love You and ASK NO OTHER REWARD BUT TO LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE.

Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION BE THE LIGHT which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, THE UNIQUE JOY OF MY HEART.

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 20, 2009

Our loving Father wants all His devoted children to reach the fullness of human perfection by evolving to be like Jesus and Mary. How? By uniting our hearts to the Hearts of our sweet Lord and our Immaculate Mother, living more and more hidden in their lowliness. All our virtues will be tested by fire and only humility will be able to withstand it. With a spirit of faith, let the only goal of all our actions be to please our Lord who suffered so much in silence. Out of love for Jesus, follow His example and carry your cross hidden in your heart generously and courageously, and the more we are crucified, the more we should rejoice.

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 20, 2009


Our Lord's Loving Presence in Holy Communion is the Mysterious Presence of His Pure Love for us, it is wholly an Act of Pure Love, which also embrace every state, every disposition of love.

From the Diary of Saint Faustina:

After Holy Communion, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus, who spoke these Words to me: "Now I know it is not for the graces of gifts that you love me, but because My WILL is dearer to you than life. That is why I am uniting myself with you so intimately as with no other creature. (Diary of St. Faustina, 707)

O Lord, let us live for this Pure Love that unites You with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Let us perceive It, at least since Its Loving Presence is everywhere (and nowhere...always beyond, an ever-greater Pure Love), so that we may no longer hinder its workings but may be pervious to Your grace; so penetrable that with Your help we may live in Your service and collaborate in Your work of redemption. In this way we will lead to You more who love You, in order to multiply in the world that Pure Love which desires to encounter You, our Father and the Holy Spirit.

When You became man and dwelt among us as a little child, Your Mother was at Your side. She lavished on You the Purest Love, but even this Pure Love was a gift of Your Pure Loving Presence, a gift that You made her. It was a Mother's Pure Love that smoothed Your Way, that served You, that had no other interest than caring for You, while adoring the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Son. You formed this Pure Maternal Love to be an example for us too.

O Lord, teach us to look at Your Sweetest Mother, let us draw our Pure Love for You from hers, let us adore You with her and together with her be well pleasing to You in the same service of Pure Love for God. And the grace with which you endowed her and by which she became Your Mother is so inexhaustibly great that there is room in it for all who seek You, for all who abiding in love in their steadfast faith desire to offer You sacrifices for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The sacrifice of a life in Your service, perhaps even the sacrifice of giving up this service, or the sacrifice of unforeseen humiliations and sufferings.
And because You loved Your Mother and granted her such Pure Love for You with her Immaculate Yes (in God's Spirit of limitless self-emptying and self-giving), we ask You, Lord, to receive us, too, every day into this divine grace, to show us a place in Your relationship to Your Mother, a place that allow us to offer up anew each one of her sacrifices, to experience together with You each one of her joys, and to do forever precisely what our Mother, with You, and with the Father and the Holy Spirit and our loving family in heaven, expect of us. Grant us the divine grace and the eternal joy of serving You today and in eternity.

Let us, Father, come to You, but on the path You chose according to Your Holy Will, give us only the Pure Love that Your eternity pours joyfully and so generously into each day.

O Lord, burn us to ash, and scatter us according to Your Holy Will. If I should ever say again what I will, do not grant that prayer: believe, even against every appearance, that from now on I am Yours alone and know no other will than Yours.

"They all contributed out of their abundance, but she, (a lowly widow that took Jesus' breath away), out of her (crucifying) poverty put in all the living that she had" (Luke 21: 4).

We must die continually and accept trials without complaining, working joyfully, suffering in silence and loving courageously and generously with no other witness than His Heart. Anyone who is not prepared to suffer all for our Sweet and Beloved Jesus and to do our Father's Will in all things is not worthy of the sweet name of friend, for here below, Pure Love without suffering does not exist.

It is in loving the cross that one discovers His Heart, for divine Pure Love does not exist without suffering.

We should spend every moment loving. One who loves does not notice his or her trials (the power of self-forgetfulness out of love for our Beloved Jesus); or perhaps more accurately, one who truly loves God is able to love them.

Why must we suffer? Because here below Pure Love cannot exist without suffering.

O Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of Yours.

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 19, 2009

Remember the pharisee who came home empty of grace.

For Jesus, our Father's Will governs everything. His only thought is to do His Father's Will (not our own self-interests, our own plans or our own agenda). Jesus was interested in one thing alone: the Holy Will of His Father. This is His Law and His Life because it is in doing God's Will that His Father is glorified. It must be absolutely clear that everything consists in doing God's Holy Will and loving doing His Will more than anything in the world. We need never fear being deceived by illusion if we follow the Will of God or we are obedient to the Holy Spirit because this is the true secret to the highest perfection. The entire life of our Lord Jesus Christ is in that. We ought to know to whom we put our trust (demolishing and distrusting our very self) and choose what God wills, as He wills it, because He wills it because this is the secret of Peace and true happiness. If we do this, our Father sees His Beloved Son in us.

To love what God wills always. to desire it always, to do it always is the great secret of perfection and a foretaste of the Peace of the saints!

Here is your humble servant, O my God, ready to undertake all, to give all, to sacrifice all, to offer up all, as long as Your Will may be accomplished in me and on all the earth.

The more we trust Jesus, the more we receive the life-giving graces of His Mercy so as to be merciful as our Heavenly Father is Merciful.


May God's vigilant grace guide you always.

humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 19, 2009

Consecration Prayer of Saint Therese of The Child Jesus and the Holy Face

O my God! Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to Love You and to make You Loved, to work for the glory of the Holy Church by saving souls on earth and liberating those suffering in purgatory. I desire to accomplish Your Will perfectly and to reach the degree of glory You have prepared for me in Your Kingdom. I desire, in a word, to be a saint, but I feel my helplessness and I beg You, O my God! To be Yourself my Sanctity!

Since You loved me so much as to give me Your only Son as my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine, I offer them to You with gladness, begging You to look upon me only in the Face of Jesus and in His Heart burning with Love.

I offer You, too, all the merits of the saints (in heaven and on earth), their acts of Love, and those of the holy angels. Finally, I offer You, O Blessed Trinity! The Love and merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dear Mother. It is to her I abandon my offering, begging her to present it to You.

Her Divine Son, my Beloved Spouse, told us in the days of His mortal life: "Whatsoever you ask the Father in My Name He will give it to you!" I am certain, then, that You will grant my desires; I know, O my God! That the more You want to give, the more You make us desire. I feel in my heart immense desires and it is with confidence I ask You to come and to take possession of my soul. Ah! I cannot receive Holy Communion as often as I desire, but, Lord, are You not all-powerful? Remain in me as in a tabernacle and never separate Yourself from Your LITTLE victim.

I want to console You for the ingratitude of the wicked, and I beg You to take away my freedom to displease You. If through weakness I sometimes fall, may Your Divine Glance cleanse my soul immediately, consuming all my imperfections like the fire that transforms everything into itself.

I thank You, O my God! For all the graces You have granted me, especially the grace of making me pass through the crucible of suffering. It is with joy I shall contemplate You on the Last Day carrying the sceptre of Your Cross. Since You deigned to give me a share in this very precious Cross, I hope in heaven to resemble You and to see shining in my glorified body the sacred stigmata of Your Passion.

After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy You in the Fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for Your Love alone with one purpose of pleasing You, consoling Your Sacred Heart, and saving souls who will love You eternally. In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Sacred Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved! Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years. You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You.

In order to live in ONE SINGLE ACT OF PERFECT LOVE, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to Your Merciful Love, asking You to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness pent up within You to overflow into my soul, and that thus I may become a martyr of Your Love, O my God!

May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear before You, finally cause me to die and may my soul takes its flight without any delay into the eternal embrace of Your Merciful Love. I want, O my Beloved, with each beat of my heart to renew this offering to You an infinite number of times, until the shadows having disappeared I may be able to tell You of my Love in an Eternal Face to Face!"

Saint Therese's prayer when pondered and lived in anyone's heart is a good antidote to the pharisee-ism of the Old Testament's Divine Justice of reward and punishment legalism which missed the Spirit of the Law, which is Love.

Jesus of the New Testament is about Divine Mercy:

"For by grace you are saved through faith. And this is not your own doing - it is God's gift - not by works, so that no one can boasts. For we are His workmanship" (Eph 2:8-9), and only and exclusively as such are we created in Christ Jesus to good works according to the Saving Will of our Wise, Good and Loving Heavenly Father.


humble servant of Jesus and Mary - Jan 19, 2009

All grace is completely free - something that people find most difficult to comprehend in its ultimate consequences. We always think that we have something different and are entitled to move a few seats higher. May we learn to leave that preference to others - we are, after all, supposed to consider them higher than ourselves. Seated at the end of the table, may we learn for ourselves to recognize the COMPLETE GRATUITOUSNESS OF LOVE.


The Wounds of Mercy of the Heart of Jesus permits us to live in the increasing Rays of Divine Mercy that emanates from the Lord of the Spirit (3:18). Our autonomy increases to the same degree that it becomes conformed to God's Saving Will for us (which He communicates to us through persevering prayer, penance and fasting) to the degree that it becomes THEONOMOUS by trusting and letting Him guide our lives here, now and always.

This applies to all believers to the same degree - wether they order their lives in the world, or as members of an active order are subject to ecclesial obedience, or as contemplatives surrender the ordering of themselves entirely to God. The first of these three is no less spiritual than the others, and the last of them is no less literal. All of them live to the same degree within the pattern that God prepared for them in advance. And this living is truly a personal and responsible way of acting. Of course it is a way of acting that is surrounded by and caught up in Jesus Christ's activity, for we are expressly told that we are created in Christ Jesus to good works. The word IN reveals both the entire expanse of the redeemed creation and, within it, the concrete co-activity intended for us and expected by us that the Redeemer of the world considers necessary to the completion of His Redemptive Work. Right here, where our own works are so much emphasized, the whole matter is placed within the framework of grace and faith: "For by grace you are saved through faith. And this is not your own doing - it is God's gift - not by works, so that no one can boasts. For we are His workmanship" (Eph 2:8-9), and only and exclusively as such are we created in Christ Jesus to good works according to the Saving Will of our Wise, Good and Loving Heavenly Father.

We should hope, pray and work for the spiritual fruitfulness of God's Transformative Power and Creative Loving Action in us to create the perfectly simple unity of His Loving Holy Family on earth as it is in Heaven through His Life-giving Spirit of Limitless Self-emptying and Self-giving which is our purest, deepest and inmost personhood as a father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister for all those who truly love the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit OUGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THEIR OWN EXISTENTIAL PRIESTHOOD AS LIVING SACRIFICIAL HOSTS FOR OTHERS, as Christ's Mystical Body.

May God bless us and give us the necessary grace to accomplish His Saving Will for ALL of us.

Joan A - Jan 18, 2009

Religious take vows.
Marrieds take vows.
Diocesan priests do not take vows.
Holy Orders is a Sacrament, that sacrament is available only men called to be deacons or priests.

So, one could possibly argue, and I've heard a religious priest do so, that those truly living a Christian marriage are in a higher state of holiness than diocesan priests.

Also, no matter how holy or devoted or whether or not a consecrated virgin, within religious life or not, female or male, one who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, just as those who have received the Sacrament of Baptism, are ever thereafter ontologically different than every other member of the human race not so blessed.

The Communion of Saints is not a democratic republic. Obviously there are those called to lives of greater holiness than others. The mark of religious life is a sign of both the unique gifts and burdens of that calling.

tom, houston tx - Jan 16, 2009

It seems that there are many people that are full of "self love" and need to strive for "pure love" which will give God great pleasure and will get that soul to be held in His loving heart.

God has a plan for us, our goal should be to live up to His plan the best we can and not to worry how we will be measure by others, or what place we have we have with Him.

He loves us all the with the same unfathomable love.

Re read diary number 371 and 372 and re visit St. Faustina effort to over come her self center consern, one can do the same, as directed by Jesus and hopefully one will not worry about any more about "... I mind very much that my life can never be as loving or bear as much fruit as that of a religious..."

Jesus I trust in You!

Charbel F. - Jan 16, 2009

Thank you!


Pat V - Jan 14, 2009

The entire time I was reading this discussion one thing kept coming to mind, which was Magisterium. I don't know if I can say this correctly or not but the difference between Protestant and Catholics is the Magisterium (some one that gives us guidance in interpreting not only scripture but other religious writings)and here is a clear cut example of why our Church has survived for 2000+ years because we have some authority that is higher than the average person to take things that are written not out of context but into fulfilment. What the average person does when they read something is to take it out of context and just see the words that seem to offend us. But by this person couragiously questioning and then doing the right thing and refer it to some one who has a broader perspective on all our religious heritage so that person can bring it into a fuller light. It was a beautiful explaination of something that many lay people have probably taken offense to and now after reading that it certainly makes her statement in the diary not only clearer but it brings into light how much St. Faustina suffered because of (what the Lay people would call miniscule sins)her transgretions. I see from what Robert said that it is the same for Scripture passages and why the Church is the only authority to truly interpret the Bible. Yes we can read it and feel the passages talking to us at times but to truly understand the meaning of the passages we need some one to interpret based on the fullness of the Church, Past Present and Future. Thank you Mr. Stackpole for a truly magnificent explaination.

Carrie - Jan 13, 2009

I was reading the Diary in adoration at 3 a.m. this very morning and I came across the first passages quoted in this article. I was a little bummed at first reading it because I too took it as meaning religous were more special than lay--but another commenter was correct where St Faustina never used the word "religous" but "chosen souls". I suppose it was initially upsetting because it brings up a slight tinge of "jealousy"--much like sibling rivalary--God loves religous more than me and I cannot become a religous. I think we all want to be special in God's eyes--a "chosen soul". But we are not all called to religous life. As much as I would personally like to be a religous--it is not my place. And it is God's will not mine I'm trying to accompolish and if I am doing that then there is no reason to be jealous of another soul! And besides there is enough love for all!

Numb Soul - Jan 13, 2009

"Yes, Thank you again, all put so beautiful.. "God made US ALL in his image." Like I tell my teenage-daughter, you are how you take your Cross's in life for yourself and others,"Carry (Bare on your back) in mind and with open heart to others of your actions"
In Christ and Peace to All

Don - Nov 25, 2007

Thank you so much for this awsome description of attaining holiness.
I'm a 42 y.o. single/celibate man(not a religious), but commited to being chaste going on 13 years now. I really needed to read this article. Thanks again. Come, Holy Spirit.

Laura - Oct 7, 2007

Please note that all of the Saints and Popes that you quoted as perceiving the celibate life as more holy than matrimony were themslves vowed celibates. Although definitely holy people, perhaps some very human weakness colored their subjective view.

Edward Allen - May 21, 2007

Try not to draw assumptions from what you read of Christ's words. Jesus does not say "religious" anywhere in the given quote. He says "chosen souls," which are souls chosen for the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether lay or religious, by putting a great amount of trust in Jesus Christ provides a great amount of gifts, miracles, and grace. Oh, how painful it was for me to sin after only a few minutes after receiving Christ in the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I had the grace of Jesus Christ and only a few minutes later I had abandoned it. Jesus, help these people realize how painful it is for them to ignore your life-giving and miraculous grace. Help them to know that imperfections in those who are concerned with the Kingdom of God need to be rid of these imperfections. Help them to know that the sting of broken trust through their imperfections is so much more painful than someone who had no trust in You and sins as a natural result. In a surrendering trust in You, Lord Jesus, they can be rid of these imperfections and love you most completely. Amen.

Frank - May 19, 2007

Your answer was great. I would like to add that vision in Diary entry 424 does need to be read very closely. Notice that BOTH the stars and the moon are shining brightly, though different. Each is shining to the greatest extent possible for each. The moon is bright and the stars are bright. A good reference for this passage is Diary entry 1784 where Jesus is speaking of "all" souls where he says: "...I want to pour out my My divine life into human souls and SANCTIFY them, if only they were willing to accept My grace. The greatest sinners would achieve GREAT sanctity, if only they would trust in My Mercy."
So all of us are called to GREAT sanctity, wheter we are laiety or religious....don't worry about who is greater as that is counterproductive. Just depend totally on Jesus and let Him Sanctify you...and attain great sanctity in Him. Also, I can't remember the passage (maybe someone else can) where Jesus says to the effect that a lay person will achieve or be greatly sanctified above a religious if he (the Lay person) cooperates with grace more than the religious. The point being, COOPERATE with Jesus and trust in Him no matter what state you are in....and you will achieve the heights of sanctity.

A. Long - May 19, 2007

I think your answer re:equal status was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was an excellent explanation, and one that I will be printing for future reference. Thanks.

deirdre - May 17, 2007


donna .e. - May 17, 2007

wow, this is the greatest web site i have ever had the pleasure of seeing with the most grateful eye, i love reading all of these wonderful writings and views, so indepth and lovely for the reader, st. faustina would be proud and i am positive that our lord and saviour is fully involved in this articles writings. certainly his holy spirit helped out here, as i have had many thoughts about being a nun, however too late as im married 13 yrs. adopted 2 kids. i once asked a woman why the good lord didnt guide in that most beautiful direction and she said thats for him to know and you to find out and now that ive adopted kids i want to begin a foster home for more kids over the years of my life on earth. this is my mission given me by the lord. and my cup overflows now! he will if you ask him guide you in paths of rightousness for his namesake, no matter who you are, where you live or what your past...just ask.

Brother Leonard Konopka M.I.C. - May 16, 2007

Thank you Robert for a truly great explanation on this issue. It is often discussed by many of my friends, as they have a concern about this comparison as well.
I like to think that this will go a long way to enligthen many of us who have had difficulty explaining the issues involved.
God bless you for this great effort.